My Target bids for a remarkable five-timer in the Listed sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes (3.15pm, 12 runners), one of two £50,000 races at Wolverhampton on Saturday, March 11.
The seven-furlong Tapeta contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14, with the winner gaining a free and automatic place in the line-up.
My Target (Michael Wigham/Connor Beasley) is the joint-most successful horse of the 2016/17 All-Weather Championships after capturing five class two handicaps over a mile on Polytrack at Lingfield Park, including four in succession, and currently leads the Horse Of The Year standings.
The six-year-old is top-rated in Saturday’s line-up with a mark of 107 after mowing down Franco’s Secret by a half-length on March 4.
Newmarket-based Wigham said today: “My Target is thriving. We are not worried about running a week later. He is doing well, eating well, and telling me he wants to run.
“He has had foot problems and when you are dealing with feet it is not easy. As the saying goes, ‘no foot, no horse.’ I would not say it is the only reason but it has definitely been a major part of the progress he has made.
“I am not too worried about the opposition on Saturday because the horses he has been beating in handicaps are quite good horses and we have been giving them weight. In theory, if the handicapper is right, we are going in two pounds well in.
“In handicaps, we haven’t been well in because if you look at the structure we have been going up whereas the opposition have been going down. We go up, they go down, we go up, they go down and when he won last week he went off at 11/4 because all the pundits are looking at it and thinking he can’t keep doing this. The horse we beat, beat us last year and was 18 pounds better off.
“The only negative is draw. Stall 11 isn’t ideal but the jockey has been doing a good job and that is what we pay him for.
“My Target will go on to Good Friday after this. I think he will give us a good day out.”
My Target’s 11 rivals are led by fellow All-Weather specialist Realize (Stuart Williams/Oisin Murphy) and Yuften (Roger Charlton/Andrea Atzeni), having his first start since landing the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day in October.
Jeremy Noseda saddles Keystroke (Adam Kirby), successful in the sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap on this card 12 months ago, while Godolphin is chasing a sixth Fast-Track Qualifier this winter with dual Group Three runner-up Mise En Rose (Charlie Appleby/Martin Lane).
Other high-profile contenders include recent Meydan scorer Salateen (David O’Meara/Danny Tudhope), 2015 G2 Coventry Stakes third Eltezam (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey), who is returning from a 611-day absence, and dual Listed winner Naadirr (Marco Botti/Ryan Moore).
Top Notch Tonto (Brian Ellison/Ben Robinson (7)), having his first All-Weather start on his 43rd outing, has top-weight of 9st 10lb in the £50,000 sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap (2.05pm, 13 runners) over an extended mile.
The line-up also features progressive six-year-old Holiday Magic (Mick Easterby/Nathan Evans (3)) and Al Shaqab Racing’s Nimr (Richard Fahey/Tony Hamilton), plus the Stuart Williams-trained pair of Examiner (Oisin Murphy) and Pactolus (Aaron Jones (3)).
Wolverhampton’s seven-race card, which gets underway at 1.30pm on Saturday, also includes the £25,000 Betway Sprint Handicap (4.25pm, nine runners) over six furlongs.
There is also a Fast-Track Qualifier at Dundalk in Ireland tomorrow, March 10, with unbeaten filly Another Story (Sheila Lavery/Pat Smullen) facing four rivals in the matthews.ie race (8.00pm) over a mile on Polytrack. The winner is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships.