09/24/2016 11:14AM

O'Brien sweeps exacta in Cheveley Park as Lady Aurelia runs third


Brave Anna and Roly Poly gave Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien a sweep of the exacta in Saturday’s $234,000 Cheveley Park Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Newmarket, England, at the expense of the previously unbeaten Lady Aurelia, who finished third.

The Kentucky-based Lady Aurelia is no longer considered a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 4, trainer Wesley Ward said in a text an hour after the race. He told British television after the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes that he will focus on preparing Lady Aurelia for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next June. The Group 1 Commonwealth Cup is a six-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds.

Lady Aurelia had her fourth start in the Cheveley Park and her third in Europe. She beat maidens at Keeneland in April before winning two prominent races in England and France – the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for fillies at Royal Ascot in June and the Group 1 Prix Morny Stakes against colts and fillies at Deauville, France, in August.

Lady Aurelia was the 4-6 favorite in a field of six in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Lady Aurelia was away well and led by about four lengths midway through the race on a straightaway course. With a furlong to go, Brave Anna and Roly Poly were closing and went in front of Lady Aurelia in the final sixteenth.

Brave Anna, a 25-1 shot ridden by Seamie Heffernan, won by a short head over Roly Poly, an 11-2 shot ridden by Ryan Moore. Lady Aurelia was beaten two lengths. The first three finishers were bred in Kentucky.

Brave Anna and Roly Poly are by War Front. Brave Anna races for Evie Stockwell, the mother of John Magnier, one of the principal owners of Ireland’s powerful Coolmore Stud. Brave Anna has won 3 of 6 starts, including the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The seven-race Newmarket program included two additional group stakes for 2-year-olds. The Last Lion (25-1) scored an upset win in the $234,000 Middle Park Stakes, a Group 1 for colts at six furlongs. Best of Days, the 6-5 favorite, won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at a mile for colts and geldings. Best of Days earned an automatic berth to the BC Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 with his victory through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program.

The Last Lion, an Irish-bred colt by Choisir, won his 10th start of the year and third stakes in the Middle Park Stakes. Ridden by Joe Fanning for trainer Mark Johnston, The Last Lion led throughout and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Blue Point, the 11-10 favorite. Mehmas (6-1) was third in the field of 10.

Best of Days was bet down from 5-2 with 20 minutes to post for the Royal Lodge Stakes. Ridden by James Doyle for Hugo Palmer, Best of Days closed from the back of a field of eight to win by a neck over The Anvil, a 25-1 shot trained by O’Brien.

By Amazour, Best of Days has won two of three starts. He was purchased privately by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing after a maiden win at Sandown Park in July and was second in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York in August.

Palmer said he considers Best of Days a candidate for the 2017 English Derby.

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