‘Fly­ing ma­chine’ Lady Aure­lia ready to take off for Ward

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RACING - PAUL WHEELER

WES­LEY WARD is a man who sees the glass half full.

And, since he sent Strike The Tiger to blitz home in the Wind­sor Cas­tle Stakes at Royal As­cot seven years ago, the Amer­i­can trainer has proven as good as his ebul­lient words with seven win­ners at the meet­ing.

He de­scribes Lady Aure­lia as a “fly­ing ma­chine” and reck­ons she is ready for take-off in the Con­nolly’s Red Mills Cheve­ley Park Stakes at New­mar­ket today.

Ward’s first ca­reer as a jockey, which earned him an Eclipse Award as the out­stand­ing ap­pren­tice in 1984, ended when he was just 21. “I ate my way out of the sad­dle,” he says. But he showed an even greater hunger for suc­cess as a trainer spe­cial­is­ing in speedy ju­ve­niles.

“I started from very hum­ble be­gin­nings and found a niche with two-year-olds,” he said. “If you had them pre­pared early, you can beat bet­ter horses. By the time the big­ger races in Amer­ica come around, in Au­gust, they’re catch­ing you up. So I was look­ing for where I could take some of th­ese fast, pre­cious two-year-olds.

“We start break­ing them in on Novem­ber 1 and they start do­ing speed work on March 1. I pretty much know from the first few works the ones to tar­get for As­cot. They need to be from fast fam­i­lies and like the grass but their mind has to be right, be able to ship over here and take all that in.”

Lady Aure­lia took all that in along with the op­po­si­tion and blew them away for Frankie Det­tori in the Queen Mary Stakes at As­cot in June and then again in the Prix Morny at Deauville last month. The filly did not seem en­tirely happy on the sur­face in France but has been happy work­ing on the turf of New­mar­ket’s Row­ley Mile where her prepa­ra­tion has been over­seen by Ward’s as­sis­tant Rachel Rod­man who is orig­i­nally from West Kil­bride.

Hav­ing crossed the At­lantic, Lady Aure­lia now has to prove she can cross the di­vide be­tween pre­cious ju­ve­nile and cham­pion two-year-old.

“She really gets a hold of this track and just scoots up that hill,” Ward said. “I think she’s really go­ing to like this track. This will prob­a­bly be the big­gest test so far. It’s the fall, your two-yearolds have risen to the top and she’s go­ing to be fac­ing the best fil­lies in Europe. So, if she can win, which I’m very con­fi­dent she will, then it’s really a big ac­com­plish­ment.”

And def­i­nitely a good rea­son to top up that glass.

RAISE A GLASS: Lady Aure­lia is the hot favourite at New­mar­ket and trainer Wes­ley Ward be­lieves he will toast a win today.

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