Menuisier toasts first British Group 1 as Wonderful Tonight bags Fillies & Mares
Wonderful Tonight completed a rare Group 1 double, progressing from a top-level win at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting just two weeks earlier to run away with the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Trainer David Menuisier said he had not yet fully recovered from the celebrations after the Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp two Saturdays ago, but there was no sign of any hangover for Wonderful Tonight, who tanked to the front over three furlongs out and was not for passing from that point under William Buick.
Frenchman Menuisier and winning owner Chris Wright had toyed with supplementing the winner for the Arc and all roads will now lead to the big one in Paris next October.
“We know that she is very good," said Menuisier. "The only question mark was whether she had recuperated from the Arc weekend or not. I hadn’t but I am glad she did!
“She's top-class all round. She is easy to train and as tough as anything that is tough. She is getting better and better, and there is still some improvement to come. She is still a tad keen early on, so once she really knows how to settle I think she can go up a notch again."
Pulborough-based Menuisier has started to establish his name among the leading trainers in Britain in recent years with the likes of Danceteria, Thundering Blue and Chief Ironside putting him on the big-race map around the globe.
“You never know, especially with fillies, whether they are going to train on or not, but we wanted to keep her as a four-year-old to target the Arc next year," he said.
"We nearly ran her in the Arc this year – I think she would have run a stormer – but she wasn’t a Group 1 winner yet. Now she is, so the sky's the limit. I feel so lucky and blessed. We bought her at the sales as a yearling for next to nothing and she’s winning her second Group 1 in two weeks.”
Hollie Doyle was denied yet more Group 1 success on runner-up Dame Malliot, who ran a screamer for trainer Ed Vaughan in his last season training in Britain.
On this occasion it was Buick in the Group 1 spotlight and the winning rider backed up Menuisier's high opinion of the winner.
"She has a lot of class and the will to win to go with it," said Buick. “When conditions are there to suit her, I can’t see why she shouldn’t scale further heights."
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