The £20,000 Betway Conditions Race (4.00pm, 13 entries) is the highlight of a seven-race programme at Wolverhampton on Monday, January 16.
Staged over an extended two miles on Tapeta, the Betway Conditions Race is the second of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £150,000 Betway Marathon Championships, run over a similar distance on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
Godolphin is responsible for two of the 13 entries in the Wolverhampton contest with dual All-Weather scorer Famous Kid (Saeed bin Suroor) and Antiquarium (Charlie Appleby), winner of the 2016 John Smith’s Northumberland Plate on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface (pictured in blue). Godolphin landed the first Fast Track Qualifier in the Marathon category of the All-Weather Championships with Winning Story at Newcastle on December 21.
Sandro Botticelli (John Ryan) was a Listed winner on turf in 2016 when scoring over two miles at Sandown Park and was also a staying-on fifth in the marathon Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot. The five-year-old son of Galileo ran well on his only start on the All-Weather, when the runner-up to Dartmouth in the G3 John Porter Stakes over an extended 12 furlongs on Polytrack at Chelmsford City in April last year.
Intense Tango (Karl Burke) is a G2 winner over hurdles and a very useful performer on the Flat at her best, taking a valuable handicap over 14 furlongs at Haydock Park in September. She has been placed on all three of her All-Weather starts.
The six-year-old mare is set to make her first start since finishing down the field in a Listed contest on turf at Bath in October.
North Yorkshire-based Burke said: “Intense Tango is an intended runner at Wolverhampton.
“She hit a brick wall on her final run last year at Bath. We probably shouldn’t have raced her as our horses weren’t running that well at the time but she has had a nice rest since then.
“We are rushing her back a little bit and she should come on for whatever she does on Monday. The owners (New Approach Racing Limited) are keen to run her in a G2 hurdle at the end of the month, so her run on Monday will be both one of her three runs to qualify for Good Friday and a stepping stone for her return to hurdles.
“She is working very nicely at home and, if she is fit enough, should run very well on Monday.”
Other entries include Watersmeet (Mark Johnston), twice a winner at Wolverhampton including on his latest start in a 14-furlong handicap on December 3, when he got the better of Rock Steady (Roger Charlton) by a nose.
Steve Rogers (Roger Varian) was third in the first Fast-Track Qualifier of the Marathon category at Newcastle on December 21, while John Reel (David Evans) has twice contested the Marathon Championships on Finals Day, coming home fourth in 2015 and ninth in 2016.
Wolverhampton’s programme on Monday, January 16 gets underway at 1.50pm and runs through to 5.00pm.