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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.

Ferguson plots Stewards’ Cup bid with First Folio

James Ferguson’s York winner First Folio will be saved for a crack at Goodwood’s Unibet Stewards’ Cup.

The three-year-old won what is traditionally a hot handicap on the Knavesmire last month, and already the form is stacking up – with the seventh home Bickerstaffe winning at Ascot and runner-up Blackrod scoring at Newmarket last week.

Ferguson has studied the past few renewals of the Stewards’ Cup and estimates First Folio’s mark of 98 should be sufficient enough to get him in the race. As a result, he is quite happy to stay patient until the end of this month.

“I think he’s more of a horse for next year, so I didn’t think there was a need to run him that much as a three-year-old,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“He came out of York well – and to be honest, I was just very happy to wait for the Stewards’ Cup. That’s the plan.

“Looking at the last few years, he should get in off his current rating, so I just didn’t feel the need to run again.

“He’s a horse who likes a bit of firmness in the ground, so the recent rain would have put me off anyway.

“With both Blackrod and Bickerstaffe winning decent races since, his form has been franked, but that York race is generally strong every year.

“His times have been very good. Fingers crossed we can get him there in one piece, and fingers crossed he gets in.”