A quality renewal of the £50,000 Listed Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Lady Wulfruna Stakes (2.45pm, 10 runners) takes centre stage at Wolverhampton this Saturday, March 7.
The seven-furlong Tapeta contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier and the winner receives a guaranteed start in the £150,000 Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.
Urban Icon (Richard Hannon/Ryan Moore) is one of the standout contenders on paper after a consistent three-year-old campaign on turf in 2019. Those efforts included a respectable eighth in the G1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and a fourth in the G3 Jersey Stakes over this distance at Royal Ascot. He has not raced since finishing third in a mile Listed race at Newmarket in July.
Trainer Mark Johnston and owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum are represented by Cardsharp (Joe Fanning), a G2 scorer as a two-year-old in 2017, and Musselburgh handicap victor Blown By Wind (Adam Kirby). Both horses have not raced this year. Johnston's trio is completed by Marie's Diamond (PJ McDonald), who captured the Listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract on his penultimate start in July.
Gulliver (David O'Meara/Jason Hart) is the top-rated runner in the race with a mark of 110 following his victory in the ultra-competitive Coral Sprint Trophy at York last season. The six-year-old, an impressive winner at Southwell in January, steps up a furlong in trip after finishing fourth in the Dukhan Sprint in Qatar on February 22.
Documenting (Kevin Frost/Jack Mitchell) has unfinished business in this race after enduring a luckless run 12 months ago, ultimately finishing fifth behind Above The Rest.
Documenting has been in excellent form since, including when going down by a short-head in the valuable Chelmsford City Cup Handicap in late August. The seven-year-old captured a seven-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park in November and has not run since a close second in a conditions race over six furlongs at Wolverhampton on December 26.
Trainer Kevin Frost, who is based in Staffordshire, said today: "We have freshened Documenting up since his last run, as the plan was always to go for the Wulfruna and then on to Finals Day.
"I thought he had a great chance in the Wulfruna last year and unfortunately he got stopped at a crucial stage. Would he have won? Who knows, but he would have definitely finished closer.
"It is not ideal being drawn nine of 10 on Saturday, although horses like him who race regularly on the All-Weather are pretty sharp out of the gates whereas some of the horses who are used to running on the turf may not be as sharp.
"If you break well from the seven-furlong start at Wolverhampton, you can slot in well and hopefully he can use his early speed to do that. It looks a crackerjack race and is exciting to have horse capable of running in it.
"The downside of the All-Weather Championships for him is that he is a seven-furlong horse. We tried him in the mile championship last year [finished sixth] and he did not seem to stay.
"We will see how Saturday goes, but I suspect we will probably end up going for the sprint championship this year instead."
Habub (Owen Burrows/David Probert), owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, is a four-time winner on the All-Weather and was not beaten far when fifth under top weight in a class two handicap at Lingfield Park on February 22.
The 10 runners are completed by Glen Shiel (Archie Watson/Hollie Doyle), Straight Right (Andrew Balding/Silvestre de Sousa) and Ghaith (David Loughnane/Tom Greatrex).
Wolverhampton's seven-race card begins with the £50,000 Bombardier Golden Beer Lincoln Trial Handicap (1.35pm, 13 runners) over a mile and 142 yards.
The weights are headed on 9st 10lb by Via Serendipity (Stuart Williams/Hayley Turner), who defeated Fox Power (Richard Hannon/Silvestre de Sousa) in a conditions race over the course and distance on February 3.
Others to note include Another Touch (Richard Fahey/Barry McHugh), the winner of a mile Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle in early January, and lightly raced four-year-old Red Bond (Keith Dalgliesh/Callum Rodriguez).