Wesley Ward is not sure what the future holds for Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) following her disappointing effort in the G1 King’s Stand S. at Royal Ascot. The flying American filly was a heavily-backed favourite to make history with a third victory at the showpiece fixture, following her previous triumphs in the G2 Queen Mary and last year’s King’s Stand, but finished a disappointing seventh. Ward reports the 4-year-old ‘TDN Rising Star’ was none the worse, although she is likely to be further examined on her return to her homeland later this week.
“Lady Aurelia came out of it great,” said Ward. “We got the Ascot veterinarian team to check her out after the race and a couple of days later and she scoped clear and trotted out perfect. It just wasn’t her day.”
The Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel runner’s future on the course has yet to be determined.
“It’s tough to say,” he said. “She’s coming home and we’ll get the veterinarian team to check her out again and see if something pops up. I had lunch with the owners on Thursday and we didn’t really talk about it [the future]. That decision [on retirement] isn’t mine to make.”
Ward saddled nine runners across the course of the five-day meeting and was thrilled to claim his 10th Royal Ascot success overall with G2 Norfolk S. heroine Shang Shang Shang (Shanghai Bobby). The other Ward runner to emerge with plenty of credit was Bound For Nowhere (The Factor), who made much of the running in the G1 Diamond Jubilee before finishing a close-up third.
Reflecting on the week as a whole, Ward said, “I always go into Ascot with high expectations and in all the interviews I did I was very confident we had a very good team going there. Thankfully we managed to squeeze out one winner by half a thumbnail. Shang Shang Shang is coming home and we’re kind of working back from the Breeders’ Cup with her. There’s a nice race at Saratoga over five and a half furlongs on the grass. We’ll see how she goes, but I think that could be within her range.”
Ward continued, “Bound For Nowhere ran great. We could take him to Australia for the big sprint there [The Everest S.], but we see him as a miler going forward. He’s developing from year to year and it would be great to bring him back to Ascot as a 5-year-old. The [GI] Breeders’ Cup Mile could be a target for him at the end of this year.”
‘TDN Rising Star’ Chelsea Cloisters (First Samurai), who ran 11th in the G2 Queen Mary S. after missing the break, will remain on European soil and is eyeing a start in the G3 Prix du Bois at Deauville on July 3.
“Chelsea Cloisters got left at the gate and my horses are kind of trained to go from the front,” said Ward. “She didn’t really have a race, so we’ve entered her up for the Prix du Bois at Deauville and she’ll probably go there next.”