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Wesley Ward has hailed Lady Aurelia a once in a lifetime horse following her scintillating display in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

The filly destroyed her rivals in the Queen Mary Stakes a year ago but had far more on her plate on her return on Tuesday.

She took on both her male counterparts and her elders, but the American challenger proved more than up to the task as she once again sparkled.

She gradually navigated her way to the front under John Velazquez, who was deputising for the sidelined Frankie Dettori.

Last year’s winner Profitable threw down a challenge inside the last of five furlongs, but Lady Aurelia found another gear to seal an emphatic three-length verdict to give Ward his eighth Royal Ascot winner.

“She’s a very special filly,” Ward said.

“”This is a Group One against the fastest sprinters in the world and to duplicate what she did last year and come back and do it again – she’s a once in a lifetime horse.”

British racegoers are set to have another chance to see the filly with the Nunthorpe at York her likely next port of call.

“She’s amazing and she loves it over here,” Ward said.

“The Nunthorpe is where I’d like to go with her next. I’m very, very excited.”

The Godolphin team has endured a tumultuous few weeks following reports of unrest and the resignation of chief executive John Ferguson.

But Godolphin supremo Sheikh Mohammed enjoyed a day to remember by claiming a treble including the other two Group One trophies on offer.

The afternoon got off to the best possible start as Richard Fahey’s Ribchester (11-10 favourite) followed up last month’s Lockinge triumph by landing the Queen Anne Stakes under William Buick in a course-record time.

“He’s got to be the best I’ve trained,” Fahey said.

The St James’s Palace Stakes was billed as a match between 2000 Guineas one-two Churchill and Barney Roy.

Churchill was the 1-2 favourite to add to his wins at Newmarket and in the Irish Guineas, but could only finish fourth as the Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy (5-2) enjoyed his day in the sun under James Doyle.

Godolphin enjoyed a one-two in the Windsor Castle Stakes with the Buick-ridden Sound And Silence, trained by Charlie Appleby, followed home by stablemate Roussel.

 
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