Two-year-old Sutter County (pictured on the left) bids to resume winning ways in the £19,000 32Red.com Conditions Stakes (7.15pm, seven runners) at Wolverhampton on Saturday, December 3.
The five-furlong Tapeta contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 32Red.com Three-Year-Old Championships over six furlongs on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
Sutter County (Mark Johnston/P J McDonald), an impressive nine-length winner over Saturday’s course and distance on debut in March, was beaten a neck by Godolphin’s Kananee in a six-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier on Tapeta at Newcastle on November 17.
Mark Johnston also runs Poet’s Society (Andrew Mullen) who has won three of his five All-Weather starts and was last seen out finishing third in a five-furlong handicap on Tapeta at Newcastle on October 25. Like Sutter County, he is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his North Yorkshire-based father, said today: “We are very happy with Sutter County.
“He came out of Newcastle with a huge amount of credit. He had an 8lb penalty, which is a lot of weight to give away, and emerged as the best horse in the race.
“We have kept him on the go with Finals Day in mind and it would be nice to get this Fast-Track Qualifier under our belts – then we can work back from Good Friday.
“P J rode him at Newcastle and said he stayed the six furlongs very well and wouldn’t be worried about going a bit further, but the one breathtaking performance that put this horse on the map came over Saturday’s course and distance. He was very effective over it in March and we hope nothing has changed since then.
“If you took Sutter County out of the race, Poet’s Society is the next best on ratings and well worth his place in the line-up. He is clearly the second string but that doesn’t mean he can’t pick up some prize money himself.”
Godolphin captured the inaugural running of this race with Portamento in 2014 and rely on Dubai One (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) this time around. The daughter of Exceed And Excel is turning out quickly after a handicap victory over five furlongs at Newcastle on November 28.
The other filly in the line-up is Gheedaa (William Haggas/Ben Curtis), who won a six-furlong Kempton Park maiden in good style in September before finishing a neck second in handicap over the same distance at Doncaster last month.
Rozy Boys (David Barron/Graham Gibbons) impressed in his only start when swooping to victory in a course and distance maiden on November 26. Brighton scorer Visionary (Robert Cowell/Adam Kirby), who is yet to race on an All-Weather surface, and Monte Cinq (Jason Ward/Tom Eaves), who also gained a course and distance maiden on November 1, complete the field.
Wolverhampton’s eight-race card also features the £20,000 Betway Handicap (7.45pm) over just shy of a mile and six furlongs. The 11 runners include lightly-race four-year-old Erhaaf (Charlie Fellowes/Stevie Donohoe), last year’s winner First Mohican (Alan King/Josephine Gordon) and Winning Story (Saeed bin Suroor/Kevin Stott), who contested the Lingfield Derby Trial in the spring.
Racing gets underway at 5.15pm and finishes at 8.45pm.
Every All-Weather race run in Britain between October 27, 2016, and Good Friday, April 14, 2017, is part of the All-Weather Championships.