Lady Aurelia just misses course record in scorching King's Stand Stakes win
American challenger Lady Aurelia was a stunning winner of the King's Stand Stakes.
Wesley Ward's filly produced a jaw-dropping performance to win the Queen Mary Stakes at last year's meeting and was a 7-2 shot to beat her male counterparts and elders on her return to the track.
With Jonny Velazquez taking over in the saddle from the injured Frankie Dettori, Lady Aurelia did not make as fast a start as 12 months ago, but soon made up the ground and tacked across from her high draw to take over the lead from Take Cover.
Last year's winner Profitable came home well to finish second, but Lady Aurelia extended her advantage in the final 100 yards and passed the post three lengths in front. Marsha, the 11-4 favourite, was third.
Velazquez said: "It's unfortunate for Frankie and a bad situation for him, but she was spectacular.
"I gave her a little break in the first half of the race and then when I asked her to run she responded, that doesn't always happen. Wes does a great job and he has a great team."
Ward, celebrating his eighth winner at the meeting said: "She's a very special filly.
"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.
"She's amazing and she loves it over here. We can look forward to a really big summer, the Breeders' Cup - her owners are so excited, it's wonderful for American racing."
Ward went on: "I'm going to sit down with the owners. The Nunthorpe (at York) is where I'd like to go with her next. We'll get her home and get her back and hopefully she runs like she did today. I'm very, very excited.
"The only thing is I feel so bad for my man Frankie. He should have been up today. I'm very happy for Johnny, but I feel really bad for Frankie. If you're watching Frankie, you're with us.
"The owners are sportsmen and sportswomen and as long as she's healthy and happy and sound, I would say she'll continue on (next year). I'll be begging them to do so, anyway."
Lady Aurelia is already even-money favourite with Paddy Power for the Nunthorpe.
Clive Cox said of last year's winner Profitable: "I'm very pleased and very proud of the performance, I knew he'd come forward from his first run and he clearly has. He's shown he's a class performer.
"If he'd been drawn among it a little bit more he might have been carried into the race a bit further, but I'm not disappointed, I'm over the moon with the run."
Sir Mark Prescott said of Marsha: "She's been beaten a short head by last year's winner, but Lady Aurelia is Lady Aurelia, she just never came back.
"We know how fast our filly is as she tanks through her races, but she was off the bridle at halfway. We can't just wait for the Abbaye, she'll have to earn her corn somewhere.
"I think Goodwood doesn't suit her quite as well, but if she's in good nick she could go there. She's in the Sapphire in Ireland as well, so she'll go somewhere soon."