Nordic Truce (left) wins the Transylvania Stakes over Strike the Tiger (right, black & gold silks) at Keeneland
Two-time Royal Ascot Group 1 winner Lady Aurelia has arrived back in England ahead of her anticipated start in the G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York Aug. 25.
While Lady Aurelia has shipped to both Great Britain and France on other occasions, trainer Wesley Ward didn’t want his talented filly to travel by herself. To help keep Lady Aurelia company on the long journey, Ward sent along Lady Aurelia’s equine best pal, who just so happens to also be a former Royal Ascot winner – Strike the Tiger.
Strike the Tiger became the first Royal Ascot winner for Ward when he took the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2009. The following season, he finished second in the G3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland. From that point, however, Strike the Tiger’s career began to slowly decline, until, as Bill Finley writes in the Thoroughbred Daily News, he wound up running in claiming races at Tampa Bay Downs in 2014.
However, as Finley points out, Ward had kept tabs on ‘Tiger’ throughout the gelding’s career, and had told the connections that he wanted the gelding back when his career was over.
“He was making his way down the ladder and I went to Kellyn Gorder, who had him, and said that whenever you are ready to retire the horse I would give him a wonderful home for the rest of his life,” Ward said. “He was very gracious, a wonderful guy. He didn’t require any payment. He gave me the horse.”
Strike the Tiger then learned a new career as stable pony, and he quickly adapted to his new role. Since Lady Aurelia arrived at the barn, he’s been a constant companion.
“He fell right into his role as a pony and he’s wonderful with all the horses,” Ward said. “He ponies Lady Aurelia by himself. He’s just a real gentle soul as a horse.”
Read more in the Thoroughbred Daily News
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