American filly Lady Aurelia wins again at Royal Ascot

Lawrence Kim
June 23, 2017

The original was a smash hit, and for a change the sequel proved equally satisfying, as Lady Aurelia followed up on her breathtaking win a year ago in the Queen Mary Stakes with a scintillating score Tuesday in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Highland Reel was second behind the longshot pacesetter Scottish for the first mile.

The five-year-old - who has won six Group Ones, including in England, Hong Kong and the United States - looked beaten at the furlong pole but somehow found the reserves to storm back and win by a length and a quarter to take his prize money to just under the £6 million ($7.6m, 6.8m euros) mark.

O'Brien was effusive in his praise of the victor. Highland Reel is out of an Australian-bred mare, Hveger, a daughter of Danehill.

O'Brien said: "David (Wachman, former trainer) always thought the world of her past year and obviously we were delighted with her first start back at Leopardstown (second in Guineas Trial) and her progress since". He was back to a mile and a quarter today and we know he gets a mile and a half well, but was a very good Group 2 victor over seven furlongs as a two-year-old. A big credit and well done must go to everybody at home that is involved with him.

"He has never lacked pace so we were hoping that courage would come into it over this trip".

He is also very adaptable when it comes to ground, so the quick conditions won't be a problem.

"He'd had some hard races travelling around the world previous year and it got to him eventually", trainer Michael Bell revealed. He stays and is incredibly fearless.

"Highland Reel also gave jockey Ryan Moore his 44th Royal Ascot victor".

However, it required another determined effort from their most reliable horse over the past four seasons - and possibly ever - Highland Reel.

Gymnaste is unexposed and looked unfortunate not to win at Kempton last time.

"We always thought the world of him as he was always very natural".

"He has danced every dance". The highlight of the British social calendar is known as the most glamorous event in horse-racing, with the most outlandish hats expected on Ladies' Day. "We will see what happens in the future but I'm happy right now".

Lady Aurelia was devastating in the King's Stand, her second Royal Ascot victory after producing a similar performance past year when winning the Queen Mary Stakes.

He also gets the backing of Betfair, which says he has looked "far more the finished article" in recent outings.

Heartache, with Adam Kirby up, chased Happy Like A Fool through the first three furlongs down the Ascot Straight.

"Highland Reel has been everywhere and keeps coming back", said Moore.

O'Brien - who until yesterday had carried nearly all before him this season in winning three of the four English classics - said Churchill had run a good race, but jockey Ryan Moore was perplexed.

"Due to the sheer force of a half tonne of horse pounding the ground, you've got about 180 strides per minute, travelling at 40 miles an hour so, that causes a lot of stress on the limbs, so that's another concern".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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