After being withdrawn from the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Group 1), Wonderful Tonight, a filly who is French by birth, therefore bypassed the British equivalent of the Arc at Ascot (England) on Saturday 24 July. And for good reason, as the soft track ground lover would have had to contend with conditions which were too fast for her liking. Fast-forwarding to 31 July, Wonderful Tonight didn't serve up half measures at Goodwood. As, in the straight, she easily repelled her would be attackers to win in the style of a top-class filly. It marked her fifth group victory!
Her trainer David Menuisier told the British Racing channel Racing TV: «Wonderful Tonight won a Group 1 over a mile and six furlongs last year, and she is a lot stronger this year. But William [Buick] 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! She probably has more speed than last year. She will probably have a run in the Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1, 19/08) or at Deauville next. She will then go for the Prix Vermeille (Group 1, 12/09) before the Arc. We could also imagine her going straight to the Arc. »
Wonderful Tonight is well known in France beyond the confines her connections have with France. As she recorded notable wins in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Group 1) on last year’s Arc weekend, plus the Prix Minerve (Group 3) at Deauville.
Anecdotally, the filly’s trainer, David Menuisier, is a Frenchman based in Britain where has proved very successful. Wonderful Tonight carries the colours of the Francophile Chris Wright. This businessman has forged a reputation as a successful music producer. In particular, he has produced Blondie which were signed up to his Chrysalis Records label.
The filly was bred in Normandy by Sylvain Vidal and Mathieu Alex, of Haras de Montfort & Preaux fame, and both of them oversee the stallion career of the filly’s sire, Le Havre. The filly was purchased at Deauville during the Arqana sales.
For the record, David Menuisier is a breeder's son who hails from eastern France. A lifelong racing enthusiast, he used to spend part of his school holidays at the stable of the former champion jumps’ trainer Jean-Paul Gallorini at Maisons-Laffitte. David's father, Jacques, is a successful breeder of jumping stock in France.