Wesley Ward Royal Ascot team takes shape at Keeneland

Wesley Ward's Royal Ascot plans took shape after a workout for his team, including last year's amazing winner Lady Aurelia, at Keeneland racecourse on Monday

In front of some 30 owners, breeders and interested onlookers who gathered on Monday morning in the grandstand at Keeneland racecourse, Lady Aurelia and a number of other horses trained by Wesley Ward worked on the turf course in preparation for Royal Ascot.

Lady Aurelia, the blistering winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting 12 months ago, is the 7/2 favourite with Sky Bet to win the King's Stand Stakes.

The filly worked with stablemate Bound for Nowhere, set to race in the Commonwealth Cup three days later. The pair covered five furlongs on a firm turf course dampened by morning showers in 1:00.80.

"I was going to go into the work a little easy, but when we got that little bit of rain with the give in the ground I thought it would be a good time – two weeks out – to let her skip along, so I changed my plan a little bit," Ward said in a press release from Keeneland. "She worked tremendous."

Lady Aurelia also won the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville last August before finishing third in the Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in September.

The filly made her 2017 debut on April 15 at Keeneland, defeating older rivals in the 5½-furlong Giant’s Causeway Stakes on the turf. Since then, she has had four works at the track in preparation for the King’s Stand. Ward also had high praise for Bound for Nowhere, a three-year-old colt he owns who frequently works with Lady Aurelia.

"(He) is getting better by the day," Ward said about the son of The Factor. "He’s a formidable foe for (Lady Aurelia). She’s still an inch or two better there at the wire than him – which she should be – (and today’s work is) very promising for him. He’s got a big, long stride and he’s going to want to go another eighth of a mile. She kinda scampers."

Among the other horses to work were Con Te Partiro (who heads for the Sandringham Stakes), McErin (Norfolk), Arawak (Coventry), Happy Like A Fool (Queen Mary), Elizabeth Darcy (Windsor Castle) and Princess Peggy, a possible Albany Stakes starter along with Fairyland.

The Ascot horses are set to travel next Tuesday. Ward, who flies to England on Sunday, said Lady Aurelia "will work in company (with Bound for Nowhere) a week from tomorrow at Ascot and get a feel for the course again. The others probably will work at the Rowley Mile in Newmarket."

Keeneland posted a YouTube video of the workouts which you can see by clicking here.

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