National Defense Filly May Be Headed Back to Royal Ascot
Widden Stud Victoria shuttler National Defense (GB) has a star performer in classy filly Twilight Gleaming, who won last year’s Group II Juvenile Turf Sprint (6f) and showed she was back to top form winning the Listed Mamzelle Overnight Stakes (5f) at Churchill downs on Sunday.
The Wesley Ward trained filly was second in the Group II Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and may well head back to the UK after this tenacious head win under Tyler Gaffalioneat her second run of the year.
“Tyler said she stumbled a little bit going out of the gate but she was able to establish things on the front end,” Ward said.
“The Palisades was her first race without blinkers, but I thought she was able to relax better without them. We’ll talk things over, but I’d say sending her back to Royal Ascot would be a logical next step.”
Campaigned by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, Twilight Gleaming advances her record to four wins and three seconds from seven starts.
From the first small crop by Invincible Spirit’s Group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winning son, Twilight Gleaming was purchased by Ben McElroy on behalf of Banke for £75,000 at the 2020 Goffs’ Orby Sale in 2020.
Twilight Gleaming is the best of two winners from three to race out of the unraced Dansili mare Thames Pageant.
Thames Pageant is a sister to Mainstream who raced for Matthew Smith in Australia as Invictus Prince. The son of Dansili had his moment in the sun when separating Winx and D’argento in the 2018 Group 1 Winx Stakes.
Thames Pageant is a half-sister to the Group III winner Reach For The Moon and stakes-placed Chalk Stream out of the stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Golden Stream.
Standing at a fee of $7,700 this spring , National Defense will have his first Australian runners next season.