Punters getting 'stuck into' Wonderful Tonight as storms threaten King George
Menuisier to wait 'as long he can' before deciding whether to run
The forecast thunderstorms on Friday night through until Saturday afternoon has forced a surge of support in the betting for Wonderful Tonight, whose price has halved as she seeks glory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (3.35).
The David Menuisier-trained filly – who has been cut from double-figure prices to a general 6-1 on Friday – landed two Group 1 prizes at the end of last season on testing ground, first in the Prix de Royallieu on Arc day at Longchamp before following up at Ascot just a fortnight later on Champions Day.
The ground at Ascot ahead of the first of the two-day King George meeting was described as good to firm, with an estimated 8-10mm of rainfall forecast before the opener at 1.15pm on Saturday.
Menuisier faces a waiting game as to whether he will run Wonderful Tonight, with the hope that the required rain will come to fruition.
He said on Friday: "We’ll give her every possible chance and wait as long as we possibly can. There are thunderstorms forecast and a good chance of heavy showers.
"That doesn’t mean Ascot will get them, but as long as it remains a possibility we owe it to the filly to keep her in the race and take her to Ascot on Saturday, where we will sit and wait."
Coral was one of the firms to shorten Oisin Murphy's mount to 6-1 (from 14-1), with the possible ground believed to be the key reason behind such strong support.
"The form of Wonderful Tonight's Hardwicke victory has already been given several major boosts, with wins for Broome, Hukum and Sir Ron Priestley since the Royal meeting," said Coral's David Stevens.
"Punters are clearly hoping that some of the forecast thunderstorms deposit enough rainfall on the Ascot turf to enable the filly to be at her best in the King George."
Paddy Power cut the four-year-old into 13-2 (from 10-1) and their spokesman Paul Binfield said: "Punters are getting stuck into Wonderful Tonight with thunderstorms forecast. If the rain does come and turns the ground on the easy side, she'd have major claims of a four-timer given her hat-trick on soft and heavy ground, including two over course-and-distance.
"If the rain misses the Berkshire track, we predict that she'll drift back out again.”
William Hill have also reported major interest in Wonderful Tonight, although current 13-8 favourite Love is the one they fear most.
Spokesman Rupert Adams said: "We have built up some solid liabilities for Love and are hoping the rain comes to our rescue."
Read more ahead of the King George
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