Last year’s John Smith’s Northumberland Plate hero Antiquarium (pictured in blue) features among an excellent field of eight for the £19,000 Betway Conditions Stakes (4.00pm), a Fast-Track Qualifier, on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on Monday, January 16.
The winner of the extended two-mile Tapeta contest receives a free and automatic place in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
Antiquarium, trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, flew home for a scintillating victory over the same distance in the famous heritage handicap at Newcastle in June, which was run on Tapeta for the first time in 2016.
On his only subsequent appearance, the five-year-old ran well to take eighth in another prestigious staying handicap, the 14-furlong Betfred Ebor, on turf at York in August.
Adam Kirby, who won an extended nine-furlong Wolverhampton maiden on Antiquarium in February, 2015, takes the ride again on the son of New Approach.
Charlie Appleby commented: “Antiquarium’s preparation for this race has gone well and we are looking forward to getting him back on the All-Weather.
“He is a proven performer on Tapeta, having won the Northumberland Plate as well as a maiden at Wolverhampton, and hopefully he can book his place for Finals Day.
“We always wanted to give him a break after he ran creditably in the Ebor as he is just a better horse on a synthetic surface.
“I was slightly tempted to take him out to Australia with a couple of my other stayers but we know that he runs well on the All-Weather and Good Friday will also be a nice springboard into the turf season.
“I would be disappointed if he is not bang there but, if he doesn’t qualify on Monday, then we will charge on to the next Fast-Track Qualifier at Kempton Park in February.”
Godolphin is also represented by Famous Kid (Saeed bin Suroor/Josephine Gordon), an impressive six-length winner over 14 furlongs on Polytrack at Chelmsford City in November, 2015, who makes his first start since finishing third in a turf handicap at Meydan, UAE, in February, 2016.
Sandro Botticelli (John Ryan/Martin Harley) is a Listed scorer on turf and has run to a high level of form on the All-Weather, having filled the runner-up spot in the re-arranged G3 John Porter Stakes at Chelmsford City in April.
Havana Beat (Tony Carroll/George Downing) was third in the 2015 G2 Yorkshire Cup but disappointed on his All-Weather debut at Lingfield Park on December 31, while Gang Warfare (Jamie Osborne/George Baker) has gained of pair of handicap wins at Wolverhampton, including when taking a valuable 14-furlong contest in March.
Talented dual-code performer Intense Tango (Karl Burke/Dougie Costello), a G2 winner over hurdles, Kempton Park handicap victor Steve Rogers (Roger Varian/Jack Mitchell) and Old Town Boy (Charlie McBride/Paddy Bradley) complete the line-up.
A bumper eight-race card at Wolverhampton on Monday gets underway at 1.50pm and runs through until 5.30pm. Grandstand tickets are available for free on the gate at all Wolverhampton’s fixtures throughout January.