Lady Aurelia returned to the track in the Giant's Causeway Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday night, finishing second behind Triple Chelsea by just over a length.
The American star has won twice in two years at Royal Ascot, firstly in devastating fashion in the Queen Mary Stakes in 2016, followed by another dominant display in the King’s Stand Stakes last summer, which is the aim again this June.
A disappointing effort in the Breeders’ Cup and the runner-up return on Saturday has now swayed trainer Wesley Ward who hopes to bring his stable star back to Berkshire this summer to complete a famous hat-trick.
“She ran a good race (on Saturday), and anytime you’re coming off a layoff, you’re always a little vulnerable,” Ward told Racing UK.
“Last year in this race she was a little more relaxed. Johnny (Velazquez) said that the rider on the longshot (Rogelio Miranda on Brave Daisey) was chirping to his horse and hustling his filly along and that kind of kept Lady Aurelia from being as relaxed as she was last year. I take nothing away from the winner.
"She beat us on the square. (Lady Aurelia) hadn’t had a race and now she has so she should be ready.”
When asked whether the plan remains to return to Royal Ascot Ward replied: “That’s what we’re here for.”
Lady Aurelia could come up against the exciting Battaash at Royal Ascot in what could be one of the battles of the week.