A jam-packed field of 18 is expected in the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes (GI), including American invader Lady Aurelia, who won here a year ago in the Queen Mary Stakes (GII) and followed it up with a victory in the Prix Morny (GI) at Deauville. The Wesley Ward-trained daughter of Scat Daddy returned to winter in the United Stakes and won the listed Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland in April as her main prep for her return to Ascot.
Ward became the first American-bred and based trainer to achieve a winner at the iconic Royal Ascot meeting in 2009 when hitting the target with 33-1 chance Strike The Tiger and has since added six more winners, including Lady Aurelia.
Like all Royal Ascot stakes events, the King’s Stand Stakes is deeply rooted in history and boasts a number of global champions as previous winners since it was first run in 1860, including two-time winner Sole Power, Scenic Blast, Takeover Target, Choisir, Pivotal, Sheikh Albadou, Last Tycoon and Irish Horse of the Year Sole Power.
Group 1 winner Marsha, fresh off her Palace House Stakes (GIII) win at Newmarket six weeks ago, will provide a tough test for Lady Aurelia. The winner of last year’s Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (GI), Marsha is trained by Mark Prescott, who has pushed a friendly rivalry in the press between the daughter of Acclamation and Lady Aurelia.
Other notable names in the King’s Stand Stakes include the Clive Cox-trained Priceless, who looked the part in Haydock’s Temple Stakes (GIII) and stablemate Profitable, who won this event last year. Goldream, who captured this event in 2015 and who hasn’t won a race since October of 2015, aims to regain his crown in here for Robert Cowell.
Other leading runners include French raider Signs Of Blessing, the William Haggas-trained Muthmir and Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC, who won the listed Windsor Castle Stakes over the course and distance two years ago. American fans know him best as an also-ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GI) at Santa Anita nearly nine months ago.
The field for the Kings’s Stand Stakes has been set for 10:40 p.m. ET.