Migration hunting hat-trick in Foundation contest

Migration bids to continue his upward curve by completing a hat-trick in the Best Of British Race Day Foundation Stakes at Goodwood.

A close-up fourth on his seasonal reappearance at Salisbury in June, David Menuisier’s charge has since impressed over this course and distance and in a valuable handicap at York’s Ebor Festival last month.

The five-year-old tests the water in Listed company for the first time on his return to the Sussex Downs under William Buick.

Menuisier said: “He’s a course and distance winner and has been in good form, so hopefully he’ll run well.

“The way he’s won his races this year, it gives you the feeling that he can perform at this level.”

The highest-rated horse in the field is the Marcus Tregoning-trained Perotto, who has won twice in five visits to Goodwood.

The gelded son of New Bay was last seen finishing fifth in the Celebration Mile three and a half weeks ago and Tregoning is looking forward to seeing how he fares over a mile and a quarter on Wednesday.

“He’s stepping up in trip a bit, but he looks like he might get it all right,” said the Whitsbury handler.

“We like him, obviously – he’s been really good for us.

“We hope he’ll run a big race again, if not win.”

Recent Doncaster scorer Harrovian represents the formidable combination of John and Thady Gosden and Frankie Dettori, while Andrew Balding saddles the consistent Fox Tal and course and distance winner King Vega.

Victory Chime, trained by Ralph Beckett, also brings winning Goodwood form to the table in a competitive affair.

Wonderful Tonight retired after sustaining fetlock injury

Wonderful Tonight has been retired after suffering a condylar fracture in a fetlock on Friday morning.

Trainer David Menuisier intended to run his stable star in the Prix Foy at ParisLongchamp on Sunday – should the ground have been suitable.

However, following confirmation of the injury by vets, the decision has been taken to retire the dual Group One winner.

“She did her final piece of work this morning and was due to go tomorrow morning first thing to France,” said Menuisier.

“She cooled down fine and it wasn’t until two and a half hours later that she couldn’t put her foot on the ground. The vets took a X-ray and she has a little condylar fracture in her fetlock, so it is game over.”

Wonderful Tonight won the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp and British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot last autumn and she claimed the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on her return in June.

Menuisier then sent her to Goodwood where she was a stylish winner of the Lillie Langtry Stakes before finishing fourth in last month’s Yorkshire Oaks on what transpired to be her final start.

“It just shows how fragile they are. She was in great form and we were just waiting to see if they got any rain at Longchamp before we made the final decision – fate decided for us really,” said Menuisier.

“I’m just thankful we had her for the time we did. I’m taking her to the hospital this afternoon and I’m just relieved we can save her.

“She’ll be a lovely broodmare and that’s all we can think of really – that and the good times that she gave us.

“Words fail me, they really do.”

Menuisier has grounds for concern ahead of Arc prep for Wonderful Tonight

David Menuisier is likely to declare Wonderful Tonight for the Prix Foy this weekend – but the current good ground at ParisLongchamp is causing him some concern.

Menuisier had his fears confirmed at York that his stable star was not as effective on a quick surface when she could only finish fourth behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Wonderful Tonight is also still engaged in the Prix Vermeille, in which she would have to take on Snowfall once more. But Menuisier favours taking on the boys with his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contender – if the ground is suitable.

“I think we’ll declare in the Foy, but that doesn’t mean we’ll run as the ground is currently good with a read of 3.2, that’s the quick side of good which is not our cup of tea,” said Menuisier.

“If the rain doesn’t materialise, unfortunately we’ll have to bypass and go straight for the big one.

“The forecast is the same as England and Ireland this weekend. You might get lucky and get some rain or you could be unlucky and get none.

“The French do always keep the ground moist so it won’t be rock hard, but we know the filly is not the same on good ground. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to give her a hard race before her main target of the year which is the Arc.

“If we don’t get her ground we’ll sit and wait and hope for the best on the first weekend of October.”

Last year Wonderful Tonight won the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend and then followed up at Ascot on Champions Day – and should conditions suit the two meetings could be on the cards once more.

“Last year it wasn’t the plan to do both meetings, but three days after Longchamp she was climbing up the trees so we sent her to Ascot,” said Menuisier.

“At the moment it is very hard to predict, but Ascot is very much on the agenda. If the weather isn’t more in our favour by the first week in October we might have to accept that we won’t run in the Arc.

“Realistically speaking if the ground is quick she won’t win. That is what we gained by running at York, we know she is not the same filly on good ground.

“I’m thrilled we ran at York because if we hadn’t we could be tempted to run this weekend on unsuitable ground which would mean she’d give herself a hard race much nearer the Arc.”

Snowfall is likely to be the star attraction at ParisLongchamp
Snowfall is likely to be the star attraction at ParisLongchamp (Nigel French/PA)

Among Wonderful Tonight’s possible opponents in the Foy are Skalleti, Broome and Deep Bond from Japan.

Snowfall is one of 12 still in the Vermeille, one of which is her stablemate Love.

Roger Varian’s Teona, Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista and Andre Fabre’s Philomene remain in the mix.

O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet is the leading light in the Prix Niel with The Mediterranean and Pretty Tiger among the seven left in.

Arc target intact for Wonderful Tonight – ‘more than ever’

Wonderful Tonight remains on track for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after her fourth-placed effort in the Yorkshire Oaks.

The filly was running for the third time this season, having won her previous two on her preferred soft ground – in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and then the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood.

Her Group One double in the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot and the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp last season demonstrated her liking for cut in the ground – but York’s turf last week was good after the forecast rain failed to fall until the final day of the meeting.

Wonderful Tonight still took her chance in the the Group One Yorkshire Oaks, and was beaten eight and a half lengths behind Aidan O’Brien’s emphatic winner Snowfall.

Trainer David Menuisier reports her to be in good form following the run and still very much on track for her principal target of the campaign back at ParisLongchamp on October 3.

“She’s absolutely fine,” he said.

“I am glad we went there, and I thought she had a good run.

“The ground made her work a bit harder than when she runs on soft ground, which is the opposite of most horses.

“That’s why I’m glad we ran. She came out of the race really well and she answered a few of our questions.

“I’m delighted that she did. For now we’ll continue to do the right thing by her and for her and hope for the best.”

Wonderful Tonight is entered in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 11, but Menuisier confirmed all roads lead to Paris in October.

“The Arc is still the target – more so than ever,” said the Sussex trainer.

Menuisier considering the options for Migration

David Menuisier has both Listed and handicap options on the table for the next appearance of his York winner Migration.

The five-year-old has had a successful season thus far.

He finished fourth on his first run after a 641-day injury-enforced break at Salisbury in late June, and has won on both starts since.

Migration was impressive in the valuable Chesterfield Cup Handicap,  and followed up in Sky Bet Handicap at York last week – prevailing by a neck from Roger Charlton’s Sinjaari.

Menuisier is considering the next target, with Listed class an increasingly tempting option from a new career-high rating of 106.

“He’s fine, he took the race well,” said the Sussex trainer.

“He didn’t really exert himself, so he’s come out of the race well, and we’re happy with him.

“When it comes to what we do next with him, honestly, I’m not sure.

“We have the option of going for the Cambridgeshire – but I’m on the reluctant side because he’s gone up 3lb in the weights.

“He’s 106 now, and that’s a lot of weight in that race.

“I’d find it very difficult to win the Cambridgeshire when you’re rated in the 100s – I’d find it much easier when you’re in the 90s.

“I won’t say that we won’t do it – but on balance, I’m a bit reluctant.”

Should the Cambridgeshire option be vetoed, Menuisier may decide to step up in grade with Migration and target the Listed Foundation Stakes at Goodwood in late September.

“Otherwise we’ve got the option to go to Goodwood for the Foundation Stakes,” he said.

“That could be a strong motion, because he’s already won at Goodwood.”

Whichever race is selected, Menuisier will ensure Migration has suitably easy going.

“Because of his injury that he picked up last year, I wouldn’t want ground that is too lively for him,” he said.

“Anything that is good or softer would be fine.

“We are very proud of him. Before he picked up the injury last year, we had high expectations for him.”

Snowfall and Wonderful Tonight set for Yorkshire Oaks clash

Snowfall will face Wonderful Tonight as she bids to bring up an Oaks treble in the Darley-sponsored Yorkshire version on the Knavesmire on Thursday.

Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall has improved out of all recognition this season for being stepped up in trip. She began her three-year-old campaign with a very impressive victory over 10 furlongs at York in the Musidora and has since won two Classics.

Firstly she powered through the rain to win the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom by 16 lengths before adding the Irish Oaks, where she triumphed by eight and a half lengths.

She will, however, face by far her toughest test to date in David Menuisier’s popular four-year-old Wonderful Tonight – herself a dual Group One-winner last season.

This term she has won the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood.

Wonderful Tonight sets a high standard but she must concede a 9lb to Snowfall.

William Buick will maintain his partnership with Wonderful Tonight
William Buick will maintain his partnership with Wonderful Tonight (John Walton/PA)

Menuisier had alternative options in France for Wonderful Tonight, but has decided to head for the Knavesmire.

He said: “Obviously I’m hoping there’s a bit more rain, but if the ground is good we’ll give it a go.

“I’ve been in Deauville for four or five days and I’ve found that the ground is pretty chopped up. The weather forecast is not that positive for downpours and I’m sure the ground will be better in York than it is in Deauville.”

Menuisier revealed a fortnight ago that he had booked leading French jockey Olivier Peslier to ride Wonderful Tonight in October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with William Buick – who has steered her to her last three victories – likely to be required to ride for Godolphin.

The Newmarket-based Frenchman had hoped Peslier would also be available to partner his stable star in her prep races for Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, but Buick will be on board on Thursday.

Explaining the reasoning, Menuisier added: “William has been riding her in the UK first of all and Olivier just had a little operation yesterday (Monday) – he had to get a little chip removed in his knee.

“Olivier is actually sidelined for a week or 10 days and I’m delighted to have William on board on Thursday.”

O’Brien also runs Irish Oaks runner-up Divinely and La Joconde.

John and Thady Gosden run their Ribblesdale winner Loving Dream and she will meet Roger Varian’s Eshaada once again, who was second to her at Ascot.

Owner Kirsten Rausing runs the Ralph Beckett-trained Albaflora rather than Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, who was second to Love in the race last year.

Andrew Balding’s Sandrine is the star attraction in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes.

Sandrine and David Probert have struck up a good relationship
Sandrine and David Probert have struck up a good relationship (David Davies/PA)

She has been very impressive to date in winning the Albany at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, striking up a good partnership with David Probert.

Ismail Mohammed’s Zain Claudette and the Stuart Williams-trained Desert Dreamer dominated the finish to the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot and clash again.

Hello You has her first start for David Loughnane since leaving Beckett, while Karl Burke’s Illustrating is another likely contender given the way she won at Goodwood.

Blue Cup to step up in search of Ebor riches

Royal Ascot fourth Blue Cup is on target for the Sky Bet Ebor at York next week.

The David Menuisier-trained five-year-old put up a career-best in the Wolferton Stakes and will try a trip beyond a mile and quarter for the first time in the £500,000 feature on the Knavesmire.

The Pulborough handler said: “The Ebor is a punt because he has never been further than a mile and two, but when he switches off he travels very sweet, so I don’t see why he couldn’t stay further.

“I would rather try now, before he’ll be too high in the weights, so this will be our last possible opportunity to run in a race like the Ebor.

Blue Cup powers home in the rain at Epsom
Blue Cup powers home in the rain at Epsom (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

“Despite the trip, you know they are going to go a good pace with 22 runners, which is why we think the Ebor is the right race to try him over further. I think it will be interesting to see how we fare.”

Formerly trained in France, Blue Cup has progressed well for his new yard and Menuisier is keen to put a line through his run in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury, where he was last of the eight runners.

He said: “The ground was too quick. He got away with it at Royal Ascot and at Newbury he travelled well, but when he came under pressure he didn’t find anything.

“He wasn’t able to put his best foot forward there, but he came out of the race absolutely fine and it turned out to be a very good race. There was no shame in defeat, especially considering he couldn’t let himself down.”

Reflecting on his Wolferton performance, Menuisier added: “The form of the race is very strong having finished just in front of Euchen Glen, who is a proven Group horse. As we all know, the Wolferton is a better race than a Listed race. I think he’ll be competitive later on in ‘normal’ Listed races and Group Threes.”

Wonderful Tonight (right) is being aimed towards the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Wonderful Tonight (right) is being aimed towards the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (John Walton/PA)

As well as Blue Cup, Menuisier could be in action at the meeting with stable star Wonderful Tonight – and any rain would be welcome.

He said: “If the whole meeting could be run on soft ground, it would suit me well!

“In an ideal world, we could do with a bit of rain for Blue Cup. I also have Migration set to run in the mile-and-a-quarter handicap on the Saturday and Wonderful Tonight holds an entry in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

“We have York and a couple of French options for her. We will go wherever we think suits best.

“She’s in good form and has come out of Goodwood (Lillie Langtry Stakes) very well. If the ground is on the easy side at York, the Yorkshire Oaks is definitely a race we are bearing in mind.”

Menuisier delighted to secure services of Peslier for Wonderful Tonight

David Menuisier is confident he has recruited the perfect Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe jockey in Olivier Peslier for his big-race hope Wonderful Tonight.

Menuisier announced on Tuesday afternoon that four-time Arc winner Peslier will replace William Buick – who is highly likely to be required for Adayar or Hurricane Lane – on his dual Group One heroine.

The Sussex-based trainer also confirmed that “in an ideal world” he hopes his fellow Frenchman will be able to ride Wonderful Tonight in the two races he will schedule before her big date at ParisLongchamp in October.

The first of those may well be in the Yorkshire Oaks this month – although Wonderful Tonight already has several other options in France and Ireland in August and September.

Menuisier said of former French champion jockey Peslier: “I think he is one of the best in the business.

“He has the experience on his side, and he’s ridden the filly as a two-year-old when he won on her at Saint-Cloud.

“The plan was to keep him on last year. But I think it was a fracture of the jaw that sidelined him, so when she went to Longchamp (initially for the Prix de Thiberville last July) I had to use somebody else.

“Tony Piccone rode her – and because he rode her well, we kept the continuity.

“But Tony Piccone has gone to Hong Kong, and won’t be back until October – and we felt it would be better to use somebody who, first of all, won the Arc several times.

“He’s also ridden (in France) all year, and knows Longchamp like the back of his hand.”

Olivier Peslier (left) is to take the big-race ride on Wonderful Tonight
Olivier Peslier (left) is to take the big-race ride on Wonderful Tonight (John Walton/PA)

It was obvious, after Wonderful Tonight rubber-stamped her Arc credentials with victory in Saturday’s Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood, that she would need a new jockey for the Arc, where Godolphin number one Buick will be needed by his retained owners.

Menuisier had no hesitation in contacting Peslier.

He said: “I’ve known Oliver for 10 years. He’s a friend, and I trust him 110 per cent to do the job.

“Who wouldn’t be keen (to ride Wonderful Tonight)? She has a live chance – well, we feel she’s a live chance, in the Arc.

“Obviously he’s delighted to have been called up.”

The Group One Yorkshire Oaks may well be the four-year-old’s next race, on August 19, and the hope is that Peslier will be able to ride her from then on.

“It’s part of the plan,” added Menuisier.

“He’s made himself available to ride the filly wherever she goes.

“Thinking of the big one down the line, I think it would be good if he could have sat on her at least once and, in an ideal world, twice before the Arc.”

Wonderful Tonight’s interim targets are still being fine-tuned.

“We need to play it by ear, but we hope she will run in August and September,” said Menuisier.

“I’m thinking of York. I’m (also) thinking of the Prix Romanet, which I think closes tomorrow. The Romanet and the (Prix de) Pomone are both run on the same day at Deauville (August 22).

“She’ll go where we think the ground is best and where we think the races are most winnable without over-exerting ourselves – which is what we did in the Lillie Langtry.

“I don’t want the filly to have too many hard battles before the big day – so she’ll get to the race as fresh as she can, knowing that we’re not having a summer break.”

Wonderful Tonight has existing entries already in the Irish St Leger and Irish Champion Stakes next month, and Menuisier added: “I’m not writing anything off.

“In September, she is entered at the Curragh, and she’s entered at Leopardstown.

“The Curragh option is probably unlikely, the Irish Leger, after the Lillie Langtry – because (Buick) felt that the stamina was stretched.

“But the Leopardstown option is a possible one, then the (Prix) Vermeille obviously – and one race you can’t write off is the (Prix) Foy, because there’s a chance the colts’ and geldings’ (older) division could be much weaker than the fillies’ division this year.”

Menuisier has high hopes for Migration

Impressive Goodwood winner Migration may have Pattern races as well as more top handicaps on his agenda this season – but is likely to stick to his best trip of 10 furlongs.

Trainer David Menuisier reports the five-year-old to have emerged from his Chesterfield Cup victory on day one of the Goodwood Festival as if he did not even have a race.

After that eyecatching success, the attention is drawn to a published entry in the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York’s Ebor meeting – but that would mean dropping back to a mile, a move Menuisier is not keen on.

He said: “I would prefer to keep him over one mile two – that’s his favourite trip.

“I wouldn’t necessarily drop him back to a mile. It was an early-closing race at York, and I left him in because I wanted to see what happened at Goodwood and keep all the options open.

“But by choice I wouldn’t really drop him back. I’m pretty sure there’s a mile-two handicap at York, but I can’t remember the handicap bracket.”

Migration seems sure to take a hike in the ratings, from his current 95.

Menuisier hopes top handicaps will still be feasible but may also contemplate a rise in class.

He added: “Historically, you’ve got the Kalaglow at Sandown as well – he ran second in the race two years ago, beaten narrowly.

“So those are the sort of races you have in mind, and the Duty Free at Newbury – and maybe also some black-type races to consider.”

Migration was off the track for two years before making a highly-promising return at Salisbury last month, and then decisively realising that potential at Goodwood.

Menuisier said: “He is fine – he came out of the race like nothing happened, and obviously I was delighted with the performance.

“We’ll give ourselves a few days and see how the handicapper reassesses him – I assume he will go up two or three pounds for that maybe, and take it from there.

“We’ll have a look at all options, but obviously the next big meeting would fit in nicely at York – and we’ll also look beyond, because he won’t be far from being a black-type horse.”

Wonderful result for Menuisier as star filly stays on track for Arc bid

Wonderful Tonight added to her growing reputation when successfully conceding a penalty in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.

David Menuisier’s stable star already has two Group Ones on her record and was racing in Group Two company having been a late absentee from last weekend’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on account of the fast ground.

Menuisier, who does not train too far from Goodwood at Pulborough, agonised over that decision – but with £170,000 on offer to the winner of this race just seven days later, it is hard to say he made the wrong call.

The filly thrives on soft ground, but she made life a bit harder for herself than it might have been by refusing to settle in the early stages for William Buick.

Buick – who gets married on Sunday – tracked Makawee until three furlongs out, at which point he could not see any merit in restraining his mount any further.

She quickly went three lengths clear, but on entering the final furlong began to think she had probably done enough for the day and started to idle.

Tribal Craft closed up, but the 4-5 favourite was always holding her and prevailed by two lengths.

The daughter of Le Havre was left unchanged at 8-1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by Betfair, a race back down at 12 furlongs and one which Menuisier has repeatedly stated has been her big aim all season.

Menuisier said: “Wonderful Tonight won a Group One over a mile and six furlongs last year and she is a lot stronger this year. William came back in and said ‘please don’t run her over a mile and six furlongs again’. It really is the end of the world for her.

“You kind of have to break her stride the whole way as she wants to go. She probably has more speed than last year. You could probably get away with dropping her down in trip, rather than stepping her up.

The field were well strung out in behind
The field were well strung out in behind (John Walton/PA)

“She will probably have a run in the Yorkshire Oaks or at Deauville next. She will then go for the Vermeille or the Arc.”

Buick said: “She doesn’t need to be running over this trip again.

“To be honest, she races how she always does, she’s energetic and I was delighted to get a lead on her.

“We went slow and she took it up a fair way out, but she has stuck on all the well to the line.

“She’s got a bit stronger since last year and with that she’s probably got a bit quicker.

“This trip probably stretches her a bit now, but she’s very good so she’s got the job done.”

Wonderful Tonight is owned by music mogul Christopher Wright, who said: “We’d like to get a couple more runs into her before the big day if we can.

“There’s the Yorkshire Oaks, which is going to be a tough race, and depending on the ground there is the Prix Pomone at Deauville the same weekend, those are possibilities. Then I suppose you have to look at the Vermeille, which she ran in last year and was beaten a couple of lengths, but the ground was pretty fast that day.

“That is the tentative schedule – the Yorkshire Oaks or the Prix Pomone, primarily ground dependent rather than competition dependent.

“And then possibly the Prix Vermeille and then the Arc.”

Fellowes mounts twin assault on Stewards’ Cup

Charlie Fellowes is heading into the ultra-competitive Unibet Stewards’ Cup with two live chances as Chiefofchiefs and new recruit Ejtilaab line up for the Newmarket handler.

Chiefofchiefs has been a standing dish in races of this nature for a few seasons but bar a win in the Silver Wokingham, has a string of hard luck stories to his name.

On the other hand, Ejtilaab had been making great strides for Ian Williams before being moved to Fellowes recently and following wins at Epsom and Newcastle, he will be sent off among the favourites.

“I don’t know much about Ejtilaab, I’ve done very little with him,” said Fellowes.

“He’s a good-looking horse and you’d think the track would suit him as he’s won over six at Epsom. Hopefully they’ll go a good gallop.

“We’ve never run Chiefofchiefs at Goodwood. He’s been a bit unlucky this year as the rain has come on both his starts and although he has form on soft, I’m certain he’s better on a sounder surface. I wouldn’t want too much rain for him.

“He loves a big field, he’s a very talented horse and he could go well.”

The draw is always a huge talking point in these big sprints and Fellowes’ pair were both drawn out early, with the trainer choosing 25 for Ejtilaab and 19 for Chiefofchiefs.

“We went high with both of them because a lot of early pace came out high and there’s not a huge amount of pace in the race, so we wanted to follow where the speedier horses were. Luckily a few of the forward-going horses went high,” said Fellowes.

Atalanta’s Boy absolutely loves it at Goodwood
Atalanta’s Boy absolutely loves it at Goodwood (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

David Menuisier’s Atalanta’s Boy is definitely a course specialist as a four-times distance winner at Goodwood, but his only defeat in Sussex came in this race 12 months ago.

“Apart from the Stewards’ Cup, he’s unbeaten at Goodwood – and I think the course-and-distance record is very important there,” said Menuisier.

“He missed the break in the race badly last year, (but) I’d like to think if he gets away this time he’d run a massive race.

“He’s all fine. At Epsom (in June), the track didn’t suit him.

“Even though he’s a Goodwood specialist, Epsom is quite different because you go downhill straightaway on the turn – and that’s the thing he didn’t like.

“Then the last day at Windsor, he did what he has done once or twice in the past (got left), which is very infuriating. We’ve been trying to work on this to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“But he’s six, so it doesn’t always apply with horses of that age. So we’ll keep our fingers firmly crossed he doesn’t do it again. He’ll have a bit of help in the starting stalls, which I hope might make the difference.”

Richard Fahey last won the race in 1998 with Superior Premium, one of his first major winners. This year he runs Mr Lupton, a stable stalwart and winner of over £660,000 in prize money. He will break from stall two.

“I shouldn’t really say this, but I’ve seen tougher Stewards’ Cups, so hopefully we’ve done well with the draw. Mr Lupton is in good form and we’re hopeful of a good performance,” said Fahey.

“Everyone went high early on in the draw and then there was a difference of opinion in terms of going low. I didn’t want to be in the middle so that’s why I went low.

“I think everything in racing is luck and what you don’t need in racing is bad luck.”

Meraas is one of two runners for Mark Johnston
Meraas is one of two runners for Mark Johnston (Tony Knapton/PA)

Mark Johnston’s pair of Desert Safari and Meraas were the first two out of the hat and he went high with both.

“Obviously a lot of people went for high numbers early on. I didn’t choose the rail as there is a danger when you’re on the rail that you can get stuck out and trapped in behind when the field come across in front of you.” said Johnston.

“I opted for 26 with Desert Safari and 24 with Meraas. Both horses are in good form. Desert Safari is not a horse who is going to be up towards the pace, so he will possibly have traffic problems and hopefully he can extricate himself.

“I’ve never won the Stewards’ Cup and generally these are not my favourite races as lady luck plays such a key part in it. I prefer races where the form outs.”

Menuisier not taking anything for granted at Goodwood

David Menuisier is determined to view Wonderful Tonight’s Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes opponents with due respect as he prepares the rerouted favourite for her Group Two assignment at Goodwood.

Wonderful Tonight is sure to go off a much shorter price on Saturday than she would have if, as was initially intended, she had taken on Adayar et al in last weekend’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Quick ground scuppered that plan, with Menuisier’s dual Group One and Royal Ascot heroine a late absentee and instead set to take her chance in a nine-strong field on the final day of the Goodwood Festival.

She is the red-hot favourite, ahead of the likes of Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora, Roger Varian’s Believe In Love and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Oaks runner-up Divinely, the only three-year-old participant.

Albaflora is second best in most bookmakers’ lists yet was six lengths adrift of Wonderful Tonight when Menuisier’s stable star made her winning return in the Hardwicke Stakes last month.

Wonderful Tonight must concede 3lb and upwards all round – but at the weights and on ratings, only Divinely has a theoretical advantage.

Menuisier said: “The opposition obviously is not the same as the King George, but they have to be respected.

“I haven’t gone into great detail as to the horses left in the race – but there’s a three-year-old carrying next to no weight, which is something you can’t discard.”

He acknowledges Wonderful Tonight has an obvious opportunity to extend her winning sequence to four, but is not inclined to take anything for granted.

“She’s the favourite and she should be, but we’re not going there thinking she’s a sure thing, nothing (else) can happen,” added the Sussex trainer.

“It’s a horse race, and we know Goodwood offers some upsets at times.

“It’s not a track where you want to be tanking too much, especially over a mile-six.

“There’s no certainty in life, apart from deaths and taxes – and that applies to any race, including this one.

“I’m not here to put a dampener on it because on sheer ability, there’s no race. But I just want to make sure everybody’s aware that we are going there very humbly.”

Wonderful Tonight and William Buick after their Royal Ascot success
Wonderful Tonight and William Buick after their Royal Ascot success (Steven Paston/PA)

Wonderful Tonight has a string of Group One entries next month and beyond – including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October – and with that potential programme in mind, Menuisier pencilled in a mid-summer target.

“She’s a bit buzzy, because she went to Ascot and had to come back,” he said.

“But other than that she’s fine. I treat the filly the same for both races. She’s well and she needs to run.

“It’s important she runs at the end of July, and it didn’t happen last weekend

“That’s the main point – she needs to run somewhere, because she’s really well and fit.

“I don’t want to deceive her by going back home and keep on working her there to get the freshness out of her without racing.”

Goodwood is beginning to dry out after the downpours early this week – which will not be to the obvious advantage of Wonderful Tonight, who has excelled in testing conditions.

Menuisier concedes she is unlikely to be right at her best on good ground, but he will not shy away from it.

“Obviously we’re still hoping for some rain before Saturday to keep it on the slow side – because it’s drying out quickly,” he said.

“Good ground would be OK – and if we don’t get any more rain I think that’s what it will be.

“I just know that on quicker ground she can’t reach the levels she does on soft, so then it is a question of opposition. On quicker ground she may not run up to (her rating of) 117.”

Divinely winning her only race to date, a Group Three at the Curragh last season
Divinely winning her only race to date, a Group Three at the Curragh last season (PA Wire)

O’Brien’s Divinely was second to stablemate Snowfall in the Irish Oaks having also run well in the Oaks at Epsom and the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.

Given the three-year-olds have been taking full advantage of the weight-for-age concession in the big races recently, O’Brien will be hoping the 15lb she receives is enough.

“She has developed into a very solid, classy filly and now has two Classic-placed performances to her name after chasing home Snowfall in the Irish Oaks last time, albeit at a respectful distance,” her jockey Ryan Moore told Betfair.

“She operates on any ground, so the weather can do what it wants, and you have to like her chances as the only three-year-old in here getting a hefty 12lb from most, and 15lb from Wonderful Tonight.

“But you obviously have to say Wonderful Tonight is the one to beat in here after that Hardwicke win last time, even though she picked up a 3lb penalty for it, especially if we get more rain.”

Hollie Doyle stars with Goodwood hat-trick

Hollie Doyle was the queen of Goodwood as she followed up her Group One triumph by completing a fine hat-trick with additional successes aboard Lord Riddiford and Sisters In The Sky.

It was on the last-named colt that she cemented the feat, producing the 13-2 chance to lead approaching the distance in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes and preserve a healthy lead to the line, scoring by a cosy but reduced length for trainer Roger Teal.

A jubilant Doyle said: “It’s been an amazing day and brilliant to win on this colt for Roger. He settled a lot better today, and after hitting a flat spot saw it out well. I just needed to give him one behind the saddle and he was away.”

Teal enthused: “Hollie had never ridden a winner for me before, but what a way to get off the mark. When we saw the bad forecast and the ground change we were worried, but decided to give it a punt. When you look at the form of this horse, it has worked out tremendously well.”

John Quinn dominated the Back To Goodwood Handicap when the Malton trainer sent out Doyle’s mount Lord Riddiford and El Astronaute to give him a one-two in the five-furlong sprint.

Just minutes on from her Goodwood Cup triumph on Trueshan, Doyle swooped to conquer on Lord Riddiford (13-2) who forged two and a half lengths clear of his stablemate, with Desert Safari and Sunday Sovereign a close-up third and fourth.

Lord Riddiford is owned by twin brothers James and Andrew Derry from Newark, whose love affair with Goodwood was sparked by the same horse.

James Derry explained: “Our first winner was this horse here at Goodwood three years ago. I’d been coming to the course for 35 years and dreamed of having a winner here.”

Quinn attributed the change in going as being a huge part of the grey’s success and observed: “The ground was very quick for him in Ireland last time, and the bit of ease today made a huge difference.”

Doyle said: “He’s a very good horse on his day and liked the conditions. He probably could have jumped better, and I had to work to keep him balanced and retain my position. But when we hit the rising ground he really picked up and shot clear.”

David Menuisier’s Migration was a ready winner of the opening Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap after throwing down a late challenge.

The five-year-old made light of the heavy ground and built on a promising seasonal debut to strike as 2-1 favourite under William Buick.

Leaving the stalls slowly and racing at the rear of the field for much of the contest, the gelding remained on the far rail as a small group broke off in search of better ground on the stands side and cut through his rivals to gain the lead with half a furlong remaining.

Driven out under Buick, the bay was an eventual two-length winner over Ed Walker’s Caradoc in second and Roger Fell’s Cockalorum a further length and three-quarters behind in third.

“I wasn’t worried, I’m absolutely delighted,” Menuisier said.

“I’ve run him over a mile but I really felt that a mile (and) two (furlongs) is his favourite trip, so it was just a matter of where.

“He should have run at Newmarket the other day but the ground, I felt, was too quick, so I ruled him out.

“He is very straightforward and he has a good turn of foot so he can get out of trouble, what he doesn’t like is having to do too much.

“About two furlongs out I was thinking ‘come on William’, but he probably felt that he had a massive tank underneath him.”

Anghaam (7-2) benefitted from a canny ride by Jim Crowley to make all in the fillies’ handicap, holding Zwelela by a comfortable length and a half.

Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “It was a game effort, just like the way she won at Newmarket earlier in the season. She’s all heart.”

In a reduced field of only six, well-supported favourite Urban Violet could only manage fourth.

Buick then sealed an opening-day double when taking the World Pool EBF Fillies’ Handicap aboard Hugo Palmer’s Lovely Breeze.

The filly struck at 3-1 in the seven-furlong contest when racing furthest from the rail, crossing the line a length and three-quarters ahead of Rod Millman’s Crazy Luck.

Migration charts winning route in Goodwood opener

David Menuisier’s Migration was a ready winner of the Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap after throwing down a late challenge.

The five-year-old made light of the heavy ground and built on a promising seasonal debut to strike as 2-1 favourite under William Buick.

Leaving the stalls slowly and racing at the rear of the field for much of the contest, the gelding remained on the far rail as a small group broke off in search of better ground on the stands side and cut through his rivals to gain the lead with half a furlong remaining.

Driven out under Buick, the bay was an eventual two-length winner over Ed Walker’s Caradoc in second and Roger Fell’s Cockalorum a further length and three-quarters behind in third.

“I wasn’t worried, I’m absolutely delighted,” Menuisier said.

“I’ve run him over a mile but I really felt that a mile (and) two (furlongs) is his favourite trip, so it was just a matter of where.

“He should have run at Newmarket the other day but the ground, I felt, was too quick, so I ruled him out.

“He is very straightforward and he has a good turn of foot so he can get out of trouble, what he doesn’t like is having to do too much.

“About two furlongs out I was thinking ‘come on William’, but he probably felt that he had a massive tank underneath him.”

Wonderful Tonight tops 23 in Lillie Langtry contention

Wonderful Tonight is one of 23 entries in Saturday’s Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood following her late withdrawal from the King George at Ascot last weekend.

Trainer David Menuisier banked on the weather forecasters being correct in their assertion that heavy showers would hit Ascot in the lead up to the meeting, but unfortunately for Wonderful Tonight’s connections, nothing of substance arrived.

On taking his pride and joy out of the biggest race of the season to date, the Frenchman said: “When you train a soft-ground horse you always need a bit of luck, with races in the middle of the summer.

“She’s the filly of a lifetime with big targets in the autumn, so we’ve got to do right by her.

“We’d like to give Goodwood a go, and she’s entered in the Lillie Langtry Stakes, so could run there.”

Should she run, Wonderful Tonight could have most to fear from Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista, winner of the Lancashire Oaks last time out.

Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora sports the same Kirsten Rausing colours and could also take her chance. Beckett has also entered the Juddmonte-owned Yesyes, unbeaten in two starts to date.

Roger Varian sent Believe In Love to Ireland to win a Group Three last time out and she could be joined by stablemates Cabaletta and Save A Forest.

David O’Meara’s consistent Makawee, Hugo Palmer’s improving Golden Pass, Aidan O’Brien’s Passion and George Boughey’s Oaks runner-up Mystery Angel are among the initial entries.

Andrew Balding’s Chil Chil is top weight in the Unibet Stewards’ Cup. She was last seen finishing a four-length ninth in the Group One July Cup. Balding also has Stone Of Destiny in the mix.

Last year’s winner Summerghand is back for more for O’Meara with Eve Johnson’s Houghton’s progressive Punchbowl Flyer going up in grade.

Ejtilaab has been making good progress for Ian Williams but should he run, it will be for Charlie Fellowes on this occasion with Lampang, Motagally and Commanche Falls all engaged.

The maximum field size is 28 with a Stewards’ Cup consolation race for those that don’t make the cut.