Two horses who came into Wolverhampton’s two £50,000 races on the course’s most valuable raceday of the year today with unbeaten records on the All-Weather further enhanced their reputations.
Second Thought (William Haggas/Ryan Moore) started the 8/11 favourite for the seven-furlong £50,000 Listed sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes on Tapeta, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Sun Bets All-Weather Mile Championships on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30.
The four-year-old Kodiac cost was already qualified for Good Friday, having maintained his 100 per cent All-Weather record in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes over a mile on Polytrack at Kempton Park in November.
He looked anything but the winner today after being slow into stride and bumped at the start before racing towards the rear of the eight-strong field.
Second Thought did not start to make progress from second last until swinging wide in the straight, but showed a good turn of foot to lead inside the final furlong and go away to score by two and a quarter lengths from 20/1 chance Summer Icon (Mick Channon/Charles Bishop, 20/1) in 1m 27.57s.
It was his sixth All-Weather victory from the same number of starts for owner Liam Sheridan.
Maureen Haggas, who assists her husband William at their Newmarket stables, reported: “Second Thought did it well. It was a little bit like his last run at Kempton, which was quite a long time ago now.
“He did well today as he had to come round all of them. He is a grand horse and loves the All-Weather, where he is now six from six.
“I don’t think there is any reason why he shouldn’t reproduce his All-Weather form on turf. He just got jarred up on his first run on turf last season behind Harry Angel at Haydock.
“It just took us a long time to get him back and he was ready to go again on the All-Weather so that is what we stuck to.
“We will be heading to Lingfield Park again on Good Friday with him now (where he won the £150,000 32Red 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes last year).
“Lingfield possibly suits him better than here. He has obviously won at Lingfield before and just likes the All-Weather.
“He has plenty of ability and hopefully we can also have a campaign on grass with him this year as well.”
The other Wolverhampton highlight was the £50,000 sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap over a mile and 142 yards.
8/1 chance Big Country (Mick Appleby/Luke Morris), who carried the second highest-weight of 9st 9lb in the race, was always going well, racing second behind the leader Swift Emperor (David Barron/Ben Curtis, 9/2).
The five-year-old son of High Chaparral came through to lead over a furlong out and went clear before holding on by three quarters of a length from the fast-finishing Pactolus (Stuart Williams/Milly Naseb, 7/1) in 1m 47.95s, with Third Time Lucky (Richard Fahey/Tony Hamilton, 12/1) the same distance back in third and the 11/4 favourite Constantino (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan) fifth.
Big Country, likely to take up his entry in the £100,000 32Red Lincoln Heritage Handicap on turf at Doncaster on March 24, is now unbeaten in three All-Weather starts.
Another All-Weather star, eight-year-old sprinter Lancelot Du Lac (Dean Ivory/Robert Winston, 5/2) defied top-weight to beat 9/4 favourite Mickey (Tom Dascombe/Franny Norton) by three quarters of a length in good style, in the £25,000 Betway Handicap over six furlongs.
Robert Winston commented: “He improved for his first run and is an ultra-consistent horse on the All-Weather.
“He is well bred, being by Shamardal, and all credit to Dean for keeping Lancelot Du Lac in that sort of form.
“Hopefully, he will get in the Sprint on All-Weather Championships Day at Lingfield Park as he has run well in that race before (second and fourth).”