Lady Aurelia is set to lead into battle a small but select team for Wesley Ward at Royal Ascot this summer.
The popular American trainer has been a regular visitor to the showpiece fixture since bursting onto the scene with a juvenile double via Strike The Tiger and Jealous Again in 2009.
Lady Aurelia has won the Queen Mary and the King’s Stand in the last two years and is on course to defend her crown in the latter contest, despite being beaten on her seasonal bow last Saturday.
Con Te Partiro also struck gold for Ward last year, landing the Sandringham Handicap to take his over tally to nine, and she too she could make the trans-Atlantic journey once more.
Ward said: “Con Te Partiro has had some compromising trips since winning at Ascot last year. She’s going to have one more run and if she proves herself worthy of going back she could run in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.”
One horse Ward appears particularly excited about is Bound For Nowhere.
The four-year-old was fourth behind Caravaggio, Harry Angel and Blue Point in last year’s Commonwealth Cup and appeared better than ever when winning a Group Two at Keeneland earlier this month.
“Bound For Nowhere ran real well last year (finished fourth) and he has had a couple of runs this year,” Ward added.
“I ran him first time up in a small race with no shoes on as I didn’t want him to have a hard race and then he won the Shakerstown Stakes impressively.
“I’m really excited about him. He’s a gorgeous big horse who I think will be a miler at the end of the year, but being with me he’ll go sprinting for now and I’m looking at the Diamond Jubilee for him.”
Asked about his other hopes, Ward identified Hemp Hemp Hurray as a likely Ascot candidate.
He said: “He’s a nice colt. He was disappointing at the Breeders’ Cup, but he’s won a stakes race this year and he could be one for either the Commonwealth Cup or the Jersey Stakes.”
Ward made his name with two-year-olds, but added: “I’ve won four (juvenile races) so far this year, but they haven’t opened up the turf track yet, so they’ve all been on dirt.
“I’ve been holding fire with a few of the two-year-olds that will act on the grass, so we’ll see how they perform before thinking about Ascot.”