Not all racegoers were immediately thrilled by the prospect of all-weather racing in Britain, but Wolverhampton’s evening meetings proved an instant-hit as racegoers flocked to watch floodlit racing in Britain for the first time in 1993 – and they’ve been turning-up ever since.
Also known as Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton only hosts flat-racing, and it now stages afternoon and evening race meetings all year round.
The most prestigious meeting is in March, when it stages both the Lincoln Trial and The Lady Wulfruna Stakes on the same Card. As the name suggests, the Lincoln Trial is a trial for Doncaster’s Lincoln Handicap, the first big flat race of the season. Meanwhile, the Lady Wulfruna Stakes is a 7-fulong Listed contest open to horses aged 4 or older, and it has been won in recent years by the likes of Sovereign Debt, Salateen and Mister Universe.
On the same afternoon Wolverhampton stages the Lady Wulfruna Stakes, a Listed event run over seven furlongs and open to four-year-olds and upwards.
Wolverhampton Racecourse is perhaps primarily synonymous with lower-class horses, however the likes of Conduit have had their warm-up races here prior to success at the Breeders’s Cup in America.
The track was originally made from fibresand, but this was changed to polytrack in 2004, which stayed down for 10-years until it was changed to Tapeta in 2014. The course itself is a left-handed oval track, measuring just short of a mile, and it is flat in nature. Its configuration means that the bends are sharp, whilst a run-in of less than 2-furlongs makes it difficult for horses to come from too far off the pace, unlike at Lingfield and Kempton where winners often finish fast and late.
Because of its tight nature, jockeys are often happiest to adopt a position a few horse-widths away from the rail, although a low to middle draw is perceived to still be an advantage in races over 5-furlongs, 7-furlongs and the extended mile, due to the need to turn left-handed early in those races. Races over 12-furlongs also require horses to turn left quite quickly after the start, though jockeys have more time to work themselves into an attacking position before the straight.
Trainers To Watch
P.D. Evans has notched up the most winners of any trainer over the last 3 seasons, but his 53 winners from 470 runners would have left you £195 out of pocket if you’d backed them all to level-stakes. That’s the case with many of the leading trainers, apart from John Gosden whose boasts an incredible 36.7 strike-rate here over the last 3 years, though even that has only produced a profit of +£6.94.
Jockeys To Watch
Luke Morris excels around Wolverhampton, and his total of 130 winners from 859 rides in the last three seasons is 20 winners higher than nearest rival Adam Kirby, though you’d still be £154.65 worse off if you’d had £1 on all his rides. However, both Pat Cosgrove (+£47.75) and Graham Gibbons (+£21.48) boast decent level-stakes profits.