Wolverhampton stages two £50,000 races on Saturday, March 11, including the Listed sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes (3.15pm, 19 entries) over seven furlongs on Tapeta.
The sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships on Polytrack 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.
Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams is doubly represented among the entries by All-Weather specialist Realize, who was third to Mister Universe in 2016,and new recruit Swift Approval.
Realize has won 10 of his 24 starts on the All-Weather, with the latest victory coming in valuable seven-furlong conditions race on Polytrack at Chelmsford City on December 22. The seven-year-old finished seventh under top-weight to stablemate Suzi’s Connoisseur in a seven-furlong handicap at Newcastle on February 14.
Five-year-old Swift Approval was a progressive horse on turf for trainer Kevin Ryan last year, winning five of his eight starts and ending the campaign with a narrow victory in a seven-furlong Listed race at Cologne, Germany, in October. He was subsequently sold for 110,000 guineas at Tattersalls. He has finished first and third in his two All-Weather starts.
Williams said today: “Realize is very well in himself. It was a difficult race for him at Newcastle because he obviously had a lot of weight. He likes a good pace to run at but it just didn’t happen for him up there. He has been very well at home since and hopefully things will suit him better on Saturday.
“Swift Approval is fine. We are still learning about him but I thought this was a good place to start him off. It is his first run for a while but he has been going nicely and I would like to think he will run well.”
Other high-profile entries include Yuften (Roger Charlton), winner of the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day, Godolphin’s dual Group Three runner-up Mise En Rose (Charlie Appleby), and the prolific My Target (Michael Wigham) who is on a four-race All-Weather winning streak.
Keystroke (Jeremy Noseda) could bid for back-to-back victories in the £50,000 sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap (2.05pm, 25 entries) over an extended mile (1m 141y).
The five-year-old, who also has the option of the sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes, was a comfortable winner of a seven-furlong handicap at Kempton Park on January 28.
Top Notch Tonto, runner-up to Olympic Glory in the 2013 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, has yet to run on the All-Weather and heads three entries for trainer Brian Ellison. The Malton handler has also engaged Galway Festival victor Dream Walker and Baraweez.
Richard Fahey could saddle Nimr, who has won his last two starts at Wolverhampton, while Mick Easterby’s entry is the progressive Holiday Magic.
Wolverhampton’s seven-race card, which gets underway at 1.30pm on Saturday, also includes the £25,000 Betway Sprint Handicap (4.25pm, 14 entries) over six furlongs.
There is Fast-Track Qualifier action on Polytrack at Dundalk, Ireland, on Friday, March 10, with Captain Joy (Tracey Collins) set to return in the matthews.ie Race (8.00pm, 10 entries). The winner of the mile contest is guaranteed a free start in £150,000 Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships on Good Friday.
Captain Joy captured the Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships on Good Friday last year, but has not raced since trailing home last of 11 in a mile handicap at Dundalk on December 9.
The 10 entries also feature decent stayer Pique Sous (Willie Mullins) and unbeaten filly Another Story (Sheila Lavery), whose two career wins have come at Dundalk.