The analyst in me tempers snap judgements on horses, preferring to wait until additional data are in before deciding that yes, this was a performance about which we can get excited.
On rare occasions, however, there have been winning displays that sent a chill down the spine, a visceral sense that we might just have seen something very special. This happened on the afternoon of 28th September 2010 when Frankel won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and it did not happen again until 15th June 2016 when Lady Aurelia ran away with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
That is not to say that Lady Aurelia is going to reach the dizzy heights achieved by the great Frankel. The clearly talented filly she beat by seven lengths that day has been beaten on both her starts since, and she herself was somewhat disappointing when only taking the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny by three-parts of a length at Deauville a week ago.
She made all, but only held on to beat the promising Alrahma, with the seemingly well-exposed Peace Envoy running on for third, just a head behind, and Al Johrah, whom she had beaten by seven lengths at Ascot, another head back in fourth.
It may seem strange to say that a Group 1-winning effort was disappointing, but when the expected result is another display of clear superiority and the actual result is more hard fought, it leaves a sense of slight dismay. Have we overestimated the ability of this star? Are there excuses?
Frankel too had a disappointing Group 1 win, the day he only beat Zoffany by only three-parts of a length in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, but he overcame that to take the final seven races of his career by an aggregate of almost 40 lengths.
Again, there is no reason to suppose that thrice-raced juvenile filly Lady Aurelia is another Frankel. She is, however, clearly one with a huge amount of talent and potential, and as she reportedly had some trouble with the underfoot conditions at Deauville, there is every reason to hope that she can resume her more impressive winning ways before long.
The initial impression that she created in France was that she did not stay the sixth furlong. If that is the case, it would be disappointing as it would rule her out of races such as the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Sprint Cup in 2017, and make her vulnerable against a good field in the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes later this year.
But the way she won at Ascot in June, combined with her pedigree, make it doubtful that stamina was the issue.
Yes, the late Ashford Stud stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) has got some sprinters – Acapulco, No Nay Never and current juvenile star Caravaggio will immediately come to mind for most UK and Irish race fans – but this is a stallion who has dominated the classics scene in Chile, getting multiple Derby and Oaks winners in that country, along with plenty of top-class runners over eight, nine and 10 furlongs in the USA.
He was also a top-class racehorse at two and three years of age, crowning his first season with victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes over a mile at Belmont Park and his short second one with victories in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Grade 1 Florida Derby, both over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
So what of the distaff side of her family? This will surely be important in determining whether this young star will be purely a sprinter or a filly who could stay the mile at three.
Lady Aurelia is out of D'Wildcat Speed (by Forest Wildcat), which makes her inbred 4x3 to Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), something that could make a tendency towards speed more likely in her. But, then again, it might be doing nothing at all for her racing aptitude: we can but guess.
Her dam was a stakes-winning sprinter when she first arrived in the USA, but before that she was a prolific local Grade 1 star (counts only as listed as per the International Cataloguing Standards) at around nine furlongs in Puerto Rico and, at five, she won the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park, scoring by six lengths.
D'Wildcat Speed's career tally was 16 wins, but that champion was out of Velvet Panther (by Pentaquod), a 31-time times scorer and dual Puerto Rican champion who, like her brilliant daughter, was a multiple top-level (local) winner at beyond a mile.
Blue Eyed Cat (by Great Above), the nine-times winning third dam of Lady Aurelia, was out of the high-class Puerto Rican filly Another Cat (by Catullus) and she, in turn was, was a full-sister to the 27-times scorer One Cat, a multiple blacktype star who was inbred 3x3 to the Kentucky Derby runner-up and multiple blacktype US sprint winner Spy Song (by Balladier), a track record setter over four-and-a-half and six-and-a-half furlongs.
Lady Aurelia was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, she made $350,000 when offered as Lot 1253 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and she is trained by Wesley Ward.
She is a half-sister to a six-furlong stakes-placed winner in the US (Titletown Five, by Tiznow) and to the dual sprint winner Distorsionada (by Distorted Humor), and the speed she showed at Ascot in June was remarkable for such a young an inexperienced horse.
The racing records of her sire, dam and grandam give her every chance of staying a mile next year, and although it is possible that it is only the family's speed that she has inherited, rather than its nine-furlong stamina, judgement should be reserved at least until we have had the chance to see her compete again over a strongly run and contested six furlongs.