The Keeneland Path to Royal Ascot Glory

From the Sales Ring to the Winner’s Enclosure

It’s nearly 4,000 miles from Lexington, Ky., to Ascot Racecourse in England, but that distance has not proven a barrier to horses that have gone from the sale ring at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale into the winner’s enclosure at the prestigious Royal Meet that is often frequented by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. Among the Keeneland to Ascot stars are Group 1 and 2 winners Con Te Partiro, Hootenanny, Lady Aurelia, No Nay Never, Order of St. George, Roaring Lion, Strong Suit and Undrafted.

Ward Embraces Ascot

Keeneland-based trainer Wesley Ward was a trailblazer in 2009 when he became the first American trainer to saddle a winner at Royal Ascot. He has subsequently made the overseas trek on a regular basis and has credited his success there with boosting his career.

Wesley Ward

When I came here for the first time I knew I was in the deep end of the pool. I got lucky and the horses ran very, very well and to come back and do it again makes it that much more special. Everyone has been so gracious over the years and have rolled out the red carpet.
Wesley Ward

Quite the Lady

At the top of the list of Ward-trained Ascot champions is Lady Aurelia, who parlayed a victory in Ascot’s Queen Mary (G2) into European champion 2-year-old filly honors, marking the first U.S.-based horse to win a Cartier Award. The Scat Daddy filly returned to Ascot the following year to dominate in the King’s Stand S. (G1). Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Lady Aurelia was acquired by George Bolton and Peter Leidel from James M. Herbener Jr. at the 2015 September Sale for $350,000, and Banke kept a piece of the filly after the sale.

Champion LADY AURELIA tops the Ward-trained Royal Ascot winners
Lady Aurelia

(Lady Aurelia) is a once-in-a-lifetime horse, and she's very, very special. I'm so excited to be blessed to train a filly like that and have the confidence of the owners to give me a filly like her ... Words can't describe it, that's for sure.
Wesley Ward

A Group 1-Winning Loner

Trained by Ward for Wes Welker and Sol Kumin, Undrafted was as talented on the track as he was quirky when not competing, as he displayed with an explosive closing kick to win the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot. The son of Purim was purchased by Hat Creek Racing for $50,000 from the September Sale consignment of breeder Catesby Clay’s Runnymede Farm and went on to amass earnings of $1.5 million.

UNDRAFTED wins the Diamond Jubilee (G1)
This is the biggest race I've ever won, including Breeders' Cups and everything. He's been training great, he really has, and Frankie just has the magic touch. He's a magical guy, a real go-getter as we'd say.
Wesley Ward on Undrafted’s win in the Diamond Jubilee

Roaring Into History

Qatar Racing’s Roaring Lion scored four Group 1 successes, including the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) at Royal Ascot, en route to being honored as Cartier Horse of the Year in 2018. Trained by John Gosden, the son of Kitten’s Joy was a $160,000 purchase by David Redvers on behalf of Qatar Rcing from Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for breeder RanJan Racing. Roaring Lion earned more than $3.5 million, with eight wins and three placings in 12 starts.

Four-time Group 1 winner ROARING LION
Four-time Group 1 winner ROARING LION

Roaring Lion has been the horse of a lifetime for us; he has exceeded our expectations while cementing his status as the best 3-year-old colt in Europe after winning four group 1s this season. My brothers and I are incredibly passionate about horse racing and to have a horse like him has been a truly magnificent experience.
Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani

More Ascot Success for Hat Creek & Ward

Another Ascot star for Hat Creek Racing and trainer Ward was the globe-trotting mare Con Te Partiro, winner of the Sandringham Handicap at the Royal Meet in 2017. The daughter of Scat Daddy bred by K.C. Garrett Farm was purchased by Gatewood Bell’s Cromwell Bloodstock for $130,000 from Taylor Made Sales Agency. She would go on to win two group 1 races in Australia during a five-year career that saw her perform on three different continents.

International success & multiple G1 winner CON TE PARTIRO
Con Te Partiro’s win at Royal Ascot has got to be number 1 on my memories in the horse business. The setting, what she accomplished on the day and the people I was surrounded by… it doesn’t get any better. That’s why we’re all in the game.
Gatewood Bell

Coolmore Scores at Ascot

Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier have enjoyed great success at Royal Ascot with September Sale graduates, headed by Gold Cup (G1) winner Order of St George (IRE) and Group 2 winners No Nay Never and Hootenanny. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Order of St George was Europe’s leading stayer. Bred by Paget Bloodstock, he was bought by Blandford Bloodstock for $550,000 at Keeneland. Both No Nay Never and Hootenanny were acquired at Keeneland by Cromwell and both were trained by Ward. Hootenanny, bred by Barronstown, was a $75,000 purchase from St George Sales. No Nay Never, bred by Jayne Doi Johnson and David Sparrow, was sold by Paramount Sales for $95,000 and raced in partnership with Ice Wine Stable.

Grade 1 winner ORDER OF ST GEORGE
order of st george
Keeneland September Graduate NO NAY NEVER wins at Royal Ascot
no nay never
Keeneland September Graduate HOOTENANNY wins at Royal Ascot

Order of St George was an incredible horse. He was a big, strong animal who was always very clean-winded. He was an incredible stayer but had the class to be competitive in an Arc. He handled soft ground, heavy ground, good ground, and quick ground. He was versatile both in terms of ground and trip.
Aidan O’Brien

Hawkbill a Godolphin Buy

Bought by John Ferguson for $350,000 from Gainesway, Hawkbill proved his purchase price a good value as he went on to earn more than $4.7 million while carrying the distinctive blue colors of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Godolphin. Among the 10 wins for the son of Kitten’s Joy, who raced in six countries and was a group 3 winner at Ascot, were the Coral Eclipse (G1) at Sandown and the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) at Meydan.  He was bred by the Helen K. Groves Revokable Trust.

Multi-millionaire and Group 1 winner HAWKBILL

He was a wonderful racehorse. He was an ambassador for Godolphin, who gave everybody connected with him immense pleasure. He was hugely popular in the yard.
Charlie Appleby, Trainer