Glorious Goodwood rounds to a close on Saturday, and the 2021 festival has saved some of its highlights for last as the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes makes its return to the schedule.
The Group 2 race will be the most anticipated showdown for many on Goodwood’s closing day, with a lengthy list of prestigious trainers having won the Lillie Langtry Stakes in recent years.
John Gosden has won this race on three occasions—more than any other trainer—but Enbihaar, the two-time reigning champion in this event, has retired and will not defend her title in Chichester.
The Plaid Horse has sized up a selection of the top contenders to inherit the throne following the crown jewel in Saturday’s schedule, including one particularly promising home county favourite.
Wonderful Tonight (4/6)
Ascot’s loss proved to be Goodwood’s gain after Wonderful Tonight pulled out of racing at the former last week in preference of an outing much closer to home this week.
Trainer David Menuisier confirmed just last weekend that a lack of rain (as was forecasted) convinced him to pull this generational filly from contention, with one eye on keeping his star entry fit for a big autumn:
It could well prove a wise decision following more rainfall in many parts of the United Kingdom this past week, a big boost for a four-year-old who’s much more at ease going good-to-soft.
Wonderful Tonight has already illustrated her class with two Group 1 wins in her past three outings, while the BBC covered her Group 2 victory in the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot in June.
For a horse that seems almost over-qualified for this meet, only a handful of genuine contenders should have a chance of making it a tough afternoon for Wonderful Tonight.
According to data from horse racing analysts, a horse in contention to do so is 9/2 Alpinista, one of two major names owned by Kirsten Rausing who’s in with a shot of challenge for the top prize in the Lillie Langtry Stakes.
The four-year-old filly has raced twice in 2021 and clinched back-to-back wins for the first time in her career, the most recent of which was the biggest of her career to date in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock:
It just so happens Alpinista’s opening win of the calendar year also came at Goodwood in the Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes, with this being the only venue she’s raced more than once in two years of competition.
Alpinista has looked comfortable escalating her range to one mile and four furlongs over the past year, although there’s need for caution given this will be two furlongs further than her previous best.
Rausing’s other would-be challenger to favourite Wonderful Tonight, Albaflora will be making a sizeable step up in competition on Saturday as she looks to shine in more esteemed company.
The Ralph Beckett-trained filly is hoping to end a rut in form after winning her first race of 2021 in the Buckhound Stakes at Ascot in May:
She’s since placed fourth and fifth in consecutive outings, the latter of which saw her finish six lengths behind no other than the favourite for Saturday’s fixture, Wonderful Tonight.
Albaflora finished second (out of four) last October in what was her only previous experience running a mile and six furlongs, and a higher talent pool likely makes the Lillie Langtry Stakes too great an ask.
Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes – Odds Leaders
|Believe In Love||9/1|