The traditional pre-Cheltenham Saturday card at Sandown, including the Imperial Cup, has been abandoned due to heavy rain in the local area. It’s still throwing up clues for Cheltenham as punters can be assured that the going will be on the soft side for the start of the Festival but those who want some quality Saturday racing action still have the all-weather card at Wolverhampton to enjoy.
Saturday is Lady Wulfruna Stakes Raceday which tells you exactly what the biggest of the seven races on the card is.
That Listed race is one of three scheduled to be broadcast live by ITV Racing, the others being tough to call handicaps which provide some great value in the betting.
1:35pm Bombardier Golden Beer Lincoln Trial Handicap
The Lincoln plays the role of firing the starting pistol on the flat racing season on turf and connections of each of the 13 horses entered in this useful trial would love their charges to graduate from the all-weather to Doncaster for that valuable handicap.
There are several in the field who can improve to make a real fist of it in the Lincoln but the market looks to have this right by pricing Fox Power as the favourite. He missed all of last summer on the turf and has taken a little while to get back into the swing of things on the all-weather but was much better last time out over course and distance. You can back Fox Power at odds of 3/1 with bet365 for this 1m½f contest, which looks more than fair.
2:10pm Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap
Favourites (or joint favourites) have a 50% record in the last 10 renewals of this handicap but don’t take that to mean it’s a simple job of supporting Concierge at a general price of 7/2. David Loughane’s four year old should be a major player having won over course and distance just a couple of weeks ago but he may well find things tougher this time around.
There are certainly more appealing options in the betting with Embour looking particularly well priced at 7/1 with Coral. Richard Hannon must be confident that his five year old is capable of running well on the all-weather having not been seen since the end of the flat racing season on turf. Hannon is presumably confident or else Embour wouldn’t be in the field and if he runs to his potential, that 7/1 price will look very big indeed.
2:45pm Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Lady Wulfruna Stakes
The Lady Wulfruna Stakes is a much respected all weather contest which usually draws a strong field to Wolverhampton. The runners and riders for the 2020 contest suggest that we’re going to get a typically exciting contest to enjoy. It is also a very open betting heat with potential winners throughout the market. Again, that is a feature of this race which has been won by horses with starting prices ranging from 8/11 to 25/1 in the last 10 years.
Urban Icon is a fairly strong favourite at a general 11/4 and there has also been support for Gulliver but it is a pair of long shots who appeal most for each way support. Connections of Glen Shiel (12/1 with bet365) feel their charge is up to this challenge as they have taken the Lady Wulfruna Stakes rather than the opening race of the card. He certainly has what it takes to place should things go to plan. The same is true of Straight Right (11/1 with Ladbrokes) who could be coming to the boil nicely for Andrew Balding.