Universal Ruler came from clouds to claim last season’s WA 2YO sires’ premiership so it would be premature to bet against him for the 3YO title in 2018-19.
The Scenic Lodge sire is currently third on the table but can take top spot with last week’s black-type winners Lady Cosmology and The Velvet King ready for richer returns at Ascot.
Lady Cosmology is being set for either the G3 Champion Fillies next Saturday or the G2 WA Guineas on November 24. Both run over 1600m, they carry combined prizemoney of $700,000. The Simon Miller-trained filly was a dominant winner of the LR Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) at the Melbourne Cup meeting.
Back at Ascot on Saturday, The Velvet King became the fifth black-type winner by Universal Ruler with a decisive victory in the LR Fairetha Stakes (1400m). He took a sit behind the leader and then dashed clear to score with a length in hand from Lordhelpmerun (Playing God) and Black Sabbath (Blackfriars).
Trainer Darren McAuliffe rates him very highly and so does Dan Staeck who is just back from riding in Victoria. “Darren said the horse was tougher than anything else in the race and that gave me a bit of confidence. I rode him tough and I would like to stick by this bloke. He could be going places.”
The Velvet King gave McAuliffe a feature double having won the G2 Lee-Steere Stakes earlier in the day with Gatting (Hard Spun). “He’s got a big motor and a high-cruising speed,” McAuliffe said. “He’s a sensible type and I have a very high opinion of him.”
McAuliffe’s racing partner Kevin Berry bought his dam Doubleblack Velvet (Show A Heart) for $7,500 at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. She foaled a full-sister to the Fairetha winner in August and is back in foal to Universal Ruler.
The Velvet King isn’t nominated for the WA Guineas but there are several options going forward including the LR Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) on November 24 and LR Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) on December 8.
McAuliffe prepared Universal Ruler to win four stakes races before he retired to Scenic Lodge where he stands for a $4,950 (inc GST) service fee.