Ward leads record American challenge at Royal Ascot

Wesley Ward has hailed Lady Aurelia a once in a lifetime horse following her scintillating display in the King's Stand Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

The British upper class is famous for its fortitude in the face of adversity, but Royal Ascot racegoers were getting hot under their collars as they sweltered in formal clothes in the UK's summer heatwave Tuesday. The event is a favorite of the Queen's, and Kate's attendance a year ago drew much attention, as her outfit-a white lace Dolce & Gabbana dress-was heralded as an appropriately sophisticated and summery choice (she matched it with a white fascinator).

Victory was very much revenge for Hannon after Barney Roy's lack of experience cost him when he was up against Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Barney Roy sprung a surprise on day one at Royal Ascot by winning the St James's Palace Stakes, with favourite Churchill only finishing in fourth. He gets the trip well and that makes him a good horse.

Velazquez was due for rides only in the Windsor Castle and Coventry Stakes, with Dettori's revelation that he would miss the entire week with an arm injury meaning he was propelled onto the mounts of many more of Ward's runners.

The opening day concludes with the Windsor Castle Stakes and Wesley Ward has saddled the victor of this listed event twice in recent years.

David Simcock, who trains Lightning Spear, has always felt that on fast ground, Lightning Spear was a Group 1 animal and at 5/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support. Off the back of a masterful win at Newbury last month in the Lockinge stakes, 50.9% of bets this month have been on the 125 rated horse, more than the rest of the field combined.

Taking place this year from June 20-24, Royal Ascot will feature 19 graded stakes races and nearly £6.6m (€7.5m/$8.4m) in purses. The horse itself was formerly based in Italy where it progressed into Group company, his most notable success coming in Germany where he won a Group 2 race last July.

"I matched him with Lady Aurelia prior to her race this year and he was a bit unseasoned, having had just one run at a small track".

"I knew there'd be a lot of pace, he was pretty slow out of the gates but he was quickly relaxed".

Ascot are following the example of British tennis star Andy Murray who has according to Tuesday's edition of "The Times" pledged any prizemoney he wins at the Queen's tournament this week to the victims' appeal.

  • Julie Sanders