Wonderful Tonight landed the final feature of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival Saturday in the presence of Abdullah bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, Academic Affairs Counsellor of the Military Attaché of the Embassy of Qatar in the United Kingdom, and QREC Board member and Al Shaqab Executive Director Khalifa bin Mohamed al-Attiyah.
Abdullah bin Mohamed al-Attiyah presented the trophies to the connections of the winner of the feature, the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes, a Group 2 for three-year-old and older fillies and mares.
Wonderful Tonight, with William Buick astride, is led into the winner's enclosure after her win in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 2) Saturday
Christopher Wright-owned Wonderful Tonight topped the 2,800m race for trainer David Menuisier and jockey William Buick.
Buick sat the four-year-old second in the early stages as she raced keenly behind the leader.
As the front-running Makawee faded, Buick was left with no choice but to commit, making his challenge under half-a-mile from home. Wonderful Tonight stretched clear on the stands’ side but was emptying slightly in the closing stages – that early exuberance appearing to be a factor.
The two-time Group 1 winner had enough in reserve to see off Tribal Craft, ultimately scoring by a comfortable two lengths. Albaflora was far away behind as she finished further nine lengths back in third.
“Wonderful Tonight won a Group 1 over a mile and six furlongs last year, and she is a lot stronger this year. I decided not to run her in the Nassau as I wanted Emma Banks [Lady Bowthorpe, owner] to win the race, so we went for the Lillie Langtry instead. She will probably have a run in the Yorkshire Oaks or at Deauville next. She will then go for the Prix Vermeille before the Arc,” the winning trainer Menuisier said.
It was a seventh win at this year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival for Buick, who will end the week as the Leading Jockey.
Buick said: “It's a mile and six furlongs. I know she has won over this trip before in Paris last year, but I think she's a bit speedier now. 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 has stuck on all the way to the line.”
Owner Wright was understandably ecstatic: “It was great to watch. We’d like to get a couple more runs into her before the Arc 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. 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.”
The success of the 2021 renewal of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is resounding by all standards with several Qatari-owned horses running in various races and even landing prestigious victories in both Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbred races. Khalifa bin Sheail al-Kuwari’s Lady Princess won the Gr1 PA Qatar International Stakes, keeping the coveted title wrapped in the maroon colour for the third year in a row and taking the number of Qatari victories in this mega contest to five in seven years. This lion’s share of success confirms Qatar’s global leadership in Arabian racing.
Besides Lady Princess, the roll of honour for the Qatar International Stakes includes Al Shaqab Racing’s Al Mourtajez in 2016, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Tayf in 2017 and Her Excellency Sheikha Reem bint Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Thani’s Ebraz in 2019 and 2020.
In addition to success in Arabian racing, Al Shaqab Racing’s two-year-old Armor won the Group 3 Markel Molecomb Stakes, a feat which promises to be only a first step for the promising colt on his third start to develop into a superstar.