Wonderful Tonight ticks most of the trends boxes for the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday and is the standout bet at +350 with online bookmakers. Outside the top three in the betting, Even So and Laburnum have decent profiles and can be backed at 6/1 and 20/1 with bet365.
In terms of age, Official Rating and runs and wins this season, these are the standout runners in the Group 1 race for horses aged three and older. You can ‘dutch’ them to win the same amount whichever of the three wins the race. Alternatively, the combined price is about 6/4. If you only want to cover one base the best bet is the favourite, Wonderful Tonight.
The selection is aged three and four of the last five winners were that age. There is a weight for age allowance of six pounds which can be crucial towards the end of the one mile and almost four furlongs race. The expected soft or worse going could exaggerate that advantage because the older horses may not be able to utilise their maturity on the ground.
It is worth noting that Even So and Laburnum are also three so will enjoy the same allowance. Laburnum has impeccable breeding and brings another positive to the race. The trainer is Aidan O’Brien who has won the race twice in the last three years. The winning jockey was Ryan Moore who rides Passion for his boss but that filly has something to find on the ratings.
The winning horse from 2015 to 2019 earned a rating of 115, 115, 114, 111 and 114. The average rating over the last 10 years is 111 in a range from 99 to 116. Wonderful Tonight runs off a figure of 114 which is typical while of recent winners. Even So (111) and Laburnum (113) are within the ratings range of the last five winners. Wonderful Tonight is the joint top-rated runner in the field.
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The betting market suggests Wonderful Tonight is the pick of the three trends horses. Each winner since 2015 was from the top three in the betting. The average SP of the winning horses over the last 5 years is about 4/1. Even So and Laburnum are above that average but Wonderful Thought ticks that particular box. Star Catcher was the 7/4 winning favourite last year.
Dame Malliot is the other highest-rated runner but as a four-year-old carries six more pounds than Wonderful Tonight. A third place finish in a Group 1 race on good ground at Longchamp last month gives the horse a great chance but the weight disadvantage is a negative. However, Dame Malliot won’t be inconvenienced by soft going but Wonderful Tonight can also act on the ground.
Wonderful Tonight won a similar race at Longchamp earlier this month. The Prix de Royallieu is a Group 1 race for fillies and mares over one mile and six furlongs. Wonderful Tonight was a decisive winner on heavy going so the underfoot conditions at Ascot will not be an issue. The age allowance will be more significant and that favours the favourite.
Mehdaayih runs off a rating of 113 so meets one of the key criteria. However, the sixth place finish in his sole run this season is a trends disqualifier. The horse’s best effort was in defeat. Mehdaayih finished fifth in the Champion Stakes last season, beaten only four and a quarter lengths by the winner, Magical. The ground at Ascot was soft for Champions Day in 2019.
Wonderful Tonight will probably require a career-best run to win the fillies and mares race on Saturday. There is room for improvement but that is feasible and Wonderful Tonight looks the best bet based on the major trends.