Wednesday, 26 August 2015


Plenty of striking fillies on show at Dunstall Park on Friday evening as the racecourse held its annual Ladies’ Evening meeting. A card of seven exhilarating races was supplemented by fashion competitions, live music from tribute band Iconic 80’s and narration throughout by the legendary Derek Thompson for At the Races.

The first race served up a tricky puzzle for punters to decipher in the form of an apprentice handicap. Twelve runners lined up along with some of the top young jockeys in the country ready to take their rides. The market changed a number of times until Diamond Runner, racing off bottom weight and with an additional five pounds taken off by the talented Paddy Pilley, was backed into clear favourite. Charlotte Jenner went straight off into the lead on Dynamite Dixie, blazing a trail and attempting to steal the race from the front. However, the horse could not sustain the effort for the whole trip and weakened three furlongs out, opening the race up for a closer. That turned out to be the Mark Brisbourne trained gelding Omotesando, initially held in midfield before a perfectly-timed move by Charlie Bennett to streak past the front runner, easing towards the end yet still winning by a convincing six lengths. It was the well-fancied Diamond Runner which finished second, narrowly beating Joe Doyle on Angels Above.

Next up was a Class 5 maiden, featuring horses trained by Michael Bell, Andrew Balding and Sir Mark Prescott no less. It was Bell’s Niblawi that went off as the well-backed even money favourite, this despite questions over whether the horse was truly progressing having been close but never quite done enough to win all of its previous races. Quite a strong pace was set by Dale Swift on Pistyll Rhaeadr, tracked by Robero all the way while Niblawi was kept in midfield by Louis Steward. With two furlongs left it appeared for a moment that Robero may struggle for room, but Lemos de Souza manoeuvred the horse out to take over the lead and kept on to comfortably hold the favourite for whom the fears of ‘seconditis’ were justified.

A close-knit handicap followed, with a betting market ranging from 3/1 to 11/1 for a field of seven horses. Five of those had previous form at Wolverhampton, including last time out winner Idol Deputy as mentioned on this blog only two weeks or so ago. Once again it was a case of a front runner setting the pace before being picked off by a late finisher. Phillip Makin took So It’s War right to the front and it looked like a shrewd move when still on top with half a furlong left to go. That being said, the gelding seemed a bit one paced and Racheal Kneller swooped late around the outside aboard the aforementioned Idol Deputy to win by half a length. It is clear that the bond between jockey and horse gives rise to a level of intuition that allows such impeccable judgement and thus booking Kneller to ride is a no-brainer for trainer James Bennett.

The fourth race was a fillies’ selling stakes, named in memory of Teja Singh Driver. Emerald Bay was the heavily-backed favourite for William Haggas, fresh from monumental success at York’s Ebor meeting. In the famous colours of Cheveley Park Stud, the filly went off at short odds of 8/15. Rio Deva led, followed through by the favourite and debutant Hobnob, but soon weakened in the final furlong. It was at this point that Emerald Bay forged through, keeping on under Graham Gibbons to win relatively easily. Hobnob for trainer Nick Littmoden looked set to take second place under Wolves stalwart Luke Morris but Bryan Smart’s Madame Barker fought back to reclaim that spot for jockey Fergal Lynch. A representative for Haggas made several bids in the auction in an attempt to retain Emerald Bay, but the horse was bought by another bidder for 10,000 guineas. Gibbons landed a quick-fire double in the subsequent race as he bucked the trend for losing front runners aboard Bosham for Mick Easterby. With only one previous run on the all-weather resulting in a win at Kempton, a small section of punters, including myself, backed Bosham to outrun its odds of 11/1. The gelding did just that, making all having been well clear with two furlongs remaining and keeping on to win by almost four lengths. Dunstall Park regulars Reginald Claude and Dream Ally finished second and third respectively.

The penultimate race of the day was also the longest at one mile and four furlongs. Trainer Mark Johnston has been in fantastic form in recent months and it was his gelding Trafalgar Rock that began the race as strong favourite. Morris led aboard The Alamo and was closely followed by Joey Haynes on Full Speed, one of two horses for trainer Philip Kirby. Kirby’s other horse Bold Henmie tracked the leaders before being quickened up to lead with two furlongs left, holding off the favourite and scooting clear under a well-judged ride by claimer Phil Dennis. Johnston’s charge bridged the gap slightly late on but only really stayed on the same pace, coming second for the third race in a row.
All eleven horses lined up for the final contest, a Class 6 handicap over one mile and one and a half furlongs. It seemed that the vast majority of bets went on Scurr Mist for Keith Dalgleish as it began the race at even money having finished first and second on the last two occasions. Michael Appleby’s French Press was the early leader, but a number of other horses queued up to rival the gelding from the beginning. Phillip Makin tracked the leaders on Scurr Mist, quietly pushing the grey along to mount a challenge with a couple of furlongs to go before eventually taking over to lead in the last furlong, staying on well to win by three lengths. French Press battled well to finish second and Diletta Tommasa came late to steal third for Daniel Mark Loughnane.

As stated before, beyond the racing there were competitions held to celebrate the fashion on show. It was fitting that Sallyann Hunter, travelling from her home in Scotland as she does every year for Ladies’ Evening, was awarded the accolade of Best Dressed Lady. This loyalty really serves to display the draw of Wolves as a venue providing entertainment for the masses and a personalised service to every single individual in equal measure. Do come and experience it for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Finally, a special mention must go to another epic #WolvesForm story on Saturday. Litigant, having previously won over one mile and five furlongs at Dunstall Park in 2013 (pictured above), was the winner of the illustrious Betfred Ebor at York. Back in 2013 the horse was with trainer Seamus Durack and Wolverhampton was still Polytrack! The horse went on to win two more races for Durack, both at Lingfield and the latest one being in April 2014. That information goes to show just how great a training performance it was by Joseph Tuite, winning such a revered race after almost 500 days off the track and on the gelding’s first run for Tuite. It was an unbelievable effort by both trainer and jockey, with Oisin Murphy compounding the training preparations with an equally superb ride. It was a tremendous story all round and great for those #WolvesForm followers!

Author: Luke Archer (

Sunday, 16 August 2015


Family Fun Day at Dunstall Park meant a combination of children’s entertainment and the usual array of exhilarating racing, proving to be a match made in heaven. Pony rides, inflatable attractions and appearances from Peppa Pig kept the little ones happy whilst the parents took in the delights of the action on the Tapeta.

Rain threatened to dampen the spirits of the racegoers before and during the first race, but the weather soon brightened up and followers of Richard Fahey were left with more reasons than just the improving conditions to celebrate. The Harry Dunlop trained Pouliche attempted to steal the race from the front, with the drop back to five furlongs looking like it would work the magic for connections for most of the way. In the end though, Penwortham was a very worthy winner. No more than mid pack up to the last turn, Fahey's charge travelled fantastically with jockey Tom Eaves pretty much motionless as the colt streaked through to win in the final furlong. Having received my praise for a great front running ride on Sands Chorus in last week's blog, Eaves showed his versatility here and he is undoubtedly always one to watch at Wolves. The debutant Baltic Histoire proved to be one of the best backed horses in the race and, despite well-liked jump jockey Robert 'Choc' Thornton joining the owners Apple Tree Stud in the parade ring due to a long-held relationship with them, the filly ultimately disappointed by finishing dead last.

The second race was a claimer and proved to be a competitive affair, not least in the market with several horses close at the top of the betting. It was Roaring Rory, as opposed to a clutch of four rivals at shorter odds, which won at 4/1. Leading throughout, the gelding held off the challengers with a well-timed move by Jacob Butterfield to push on as they rounded the final bend. The winner got into a bit of a bumping match with Hot Stuff for one or two strides but there was no foul play and no enquiry was called. Favourite Thee And Me stayed on late but didn't quite have enough to reach the winner. A strong contingent of winning owners cheered him home which was brilliant to see. In fact, the photographer struggled to fit them all into the winners’ enclosure photo!

The next race took the form of a fascinating maiden. The strong favourite was Our Joy, arriving at Dunstall off the back of a run at Royal Ascot where the filly was as short as 9/1 at the off in a strongly-contested maiden. Even having considered this, it is not often a Godolphin horse is overlooked for favouritism, especially with retained jockey William Buick making the trip for the one ride aboard Spennithorne. It was the 'boys in blue' who took the race in the end, Buick riding to perfection. He got the horse well positioned straight out of the stalls, following the pacesetters and then kicking on round the bend to win with consummate ease. Buick's move into such a good position actually kept Adam Kirby on Our Joy, next to Spennithorne in the stalls, further out wide than he would have liked. At The Races pundits said remarked that it could almost be said that the move from Buick and the effect that it had on Our Joy's position won the race in the first 100 yards. The enigmatic Silvestre De Sousa was second on Caitie for Paul Cole and 80/1 shot Ice Dream outran it's odds for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote to finish third.

Racecourse regulars could be forgiven for thinking that the feature race was a case of déjà vu. Old Wolverhampton favourite Reggie Bond brushed aside a 3lb rise in the weights for his previous course and distance win to take first place. Promising young jockey George Chaloner wound him up and then let him go at the perfect time to scoot clear of another course regular in Berlusca by three and a half lengths. It is clear that Reggie thrives on the Tapeta and it is fitting for this win to coincide with the first anniversary of the new surface being laid. Favourite She's Gorgeous looked well within a chance under Freddie Tylicki for James Fanshawe with a couple of furlongs left but soon weakened and perhaps could not handle the added burden of a 10lb rise in the weights.

The fifth race was the longest of the day at one mile and four furlongs. De Sousa would have fancied his chances aboard the Chris Dwyer trained Noguchi, holding the gelding up in third behind the pacesetters. No such luck though as Noguchi was soon struggling with four furlongs of the trip left to run. Born To Be Bad at the front was followed by Trimoulet who looked relatively comfortable all the way and won the day once released up the inner rail under Tom Queally. The winner posted an impressive time, 1.68 seconds less than the standard time for the trip at the track. Sweetheart Abbey came off the pace late for Kirby and turned out to be the closest threat to the victor but it was a convincing win in truth.

I was taken by the performance of Luca Cumani's Handbell at Wolves last month, pondering the question of 'Where Next?' Representing owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum in the same colours as King George winner Postponed, the filly returned to the scene of its win for a tight handicap involving five runners. However, perhaps this question was all the more pertinent as outsider of the field Lady Estella shocked the odds-on favourite to win the day. Handbell was under pressure and struggling in the last furlong or so and Lady Estella flashed down the outside of the field, fending off an inside rail challenge from You're My Cracker. The market, placing Handbell at 4/6, equally suggested that much was expected of her after the previously-mentioned impressive maiden win at Dunstall but Marco Botti's horse, under a top ride by Mark Monaghan, brought Handbell back down to earth.

In the final race, previous course winners Bread and Cisco Boy were the top two in the betting. Both jockeys in this apprentice handicap, Ross Atkinson and Rachel Richardson respectively, sought to track the pace set by front runner Dad’s Girl under Robert Dodsworth. Bread went first trying to pick off the field and Cisco Boy had an effort up the inner rail but it was Kodiac Lady, a maiden up to this point, who stayed on nicely under 7lb claimer Hollie Doyle. Pacolita ran on behind as Monaghan tried to achieve a double and Chances Are ran on far too late for Louis Steward to trouble the winner. Again much was expected after Bread's previous winning performance under De Sousa a mere four days before and the odds clearly showed that. However, a poor draw in 7 may have meant that too much energy was used up in order to get the horse across towards the rail and this may well have proved critical.

Finally, a special mention must be given to Don’t Touch, again trained by Richard Fahey. Arriving at Wolverhampton last month as an unbeaten horse, having won a Class 5 maiden at Newcastle and Class 4 handicap at Haydock, it was apparent that this gelding was quickly climbing the ranks when lining up for a Class 3 handicap. Backers would have been worried at first as the gelding dwelt through the start of the race before taking closer order. That being said, the final two furlongs were mightily imposing and eye-catching. Soon making headway just over a furlong out, Tony Hamilton pulled off the perfect ride to lead inside the final furlong and scoot home with more authority than the half a length victory suggested. Fast forward to Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon, the key day on the calendar for the racecourse. This again represented a step up for Don’t Touch in the form of a thirteen runner Class 2 Handicap no less. Almost a carbon copy of the Dunstall win, this performance was even more striking. Following the leaders on the stands side, Hamilton again rode the horse to challenge with around a furlong left, culminating in a remarkable move to flash home to lead in the final stride. A perfectly timed effort, it is well worth watching the replay if you missed it on the day. Constituting yet another #WolvesForm story, the next steps taken by Don’t Touch will no doubt prove to be compelling viewing whatever the result.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


An impressive crowd descended on Wolverhampton Racecourse for last Thursday's afternoon meeting, a transfer from Great Yarmouth. A menu of eight races included a tricky maiden, several handicaps featuring familiar horses and an intriguing Class 4 involving unexposed 3 year olds - plenty for punters to sink their teeth into.

Amongst the jockeys appearing at the meeting were Paul Hanagan with duties for his retainer Hamdan Al Maktoum, all-weather stalwarts Adam Kirby and Luke Morris, plus Silvestre De Sousa as he chases the Jockeys Championship.

With much discussion regarding dwindling desire to win the title, De Sousa's commitment to the cause and will to succeed cannot be doubted. Matt Chapman raised concerns in his column within the Favourite pullout for The Sun, suggesting that a review of the Championship is required due to a number of nagging issues with the way that it is currently run. He advocates a points system where higher class races mean more points for jockeys and it will be interesting to see how things develop. All the same, it's refreshing to see Silvestre push himself with a view to achieving the accolade.

It was De Sousa and the previously mentioned Morris who battled it out in the first race, riding joint favourites Shadow Game and Sun'aq respectively. With Mark Johnston in such fine form many couldn't see past Shadow Game, but it was the Sir Mark Prescott debutant Sun'aq (pictured below) that showed an impressive turn of foot to scoot clear in the final couple of furlongs. Only time will tell just how good this 67,000 guineas filly could be but it was certainly an eye-catching start.

Next up was a low grade maiden handicap where the strongly fancied Duffel was bidding to erase the memory of ordinary maiden form and make the trip from Newmarket worthwhile for the Luca Cumani stable. Much like stablemate Handbell less than a month before, Duffel made an accomplished all-weather debut to win with a fair bit in hand. Behind in second was the hard-working Morris on Man of Music trained by Tony Carroll who was at the racecourse, fresh from a 2,204/1 four-timer at Brighton the previous day.

In the following race, De Sousa picked up the win he craved aboard Bread for trainer Ivan Furtado, who is enjoying a growing reputation within racing. Furtado has been cleverly utilising the reinvigorated De Sousa on a regular basis and the results are clear to see. The big race of the day was sandwiched by a seller won by the David Evans trained Just Marion under another enterprising rid by Kirby, and a Class 5 handicap won by Sands Chorus thanks to a great front running effort by Tom Eaves, holding off the fast-finishing grey, Ainslie. The selling handicap was marred by a fall from Spirit In Time by Rosie Jessop - we wish her a speedy recovery and hope that she is back riding soon.

As has been said, the Class 4 handicap represented the most intriguing race of the meeting. Five unexposed horses lined up, all from top Newmarket stables, thus showing the expanding appeal of the Wolverhampton Tapeta. Originally seen as a straight fight for favouritism between William Haggas' Zaaneh and Roger Varian's Faddwa, David Simcock's Cartier went off as the well-backed favourite - perhaps the fact that the all-conquering De Sousa was on board had a part to play in that. With Clive Brittain's Teosroyal setting a decent pace from the front, Zaaneh settled in behind in second and kick on round the bend to be eventually driven home with great finesse by Hanagan (pictured below). Faddwa, a course and distance winner on debut, and Cartier both never really got going but are definitely not horses to give up on just yet.

The winners of the last two races are both well-known to regular Wolverhampton racegoers. The penultimate race saw nine previous course winners out of a total thirteen runners line up. A sweeping run around the outside saw Idol Deputy flash home to win under local jockey Racheal Kneller, a combination that has worked well for trainer James Bennett. With what may prove to be a similarly mutually beneficial relationship, the final race was won by course regular Black Truffle, under a determined ride by another claimer, Josephine Gorden, finding the gaps at the right time. The strong favourite Paladin, a former Goldophin inmate no less, turned out to be a pal to the bookies as it finished a close second having fought back against the victor just too late.

A fantastic day's racing all round, it will be fascinating to see where some of these horses go from here. Is it a case of the sky's the limit for Sun'aq? Will Duffel have future high class races in the bag? Is Zaaneh climbing the ratings towards bigger and better things? Watch out for these horse as their reputations grow and visit the racecourse to see the beginning of yet more #WolvesForm stories.

Author: Luke Archer (

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Much was made of rebranding the famous racing week as the 'Qatar Goodwood Festival', but it remained just as glorious.

Expectation weighed heavy on the shoulders of Richard Hughes, his final week as a jockey before beginning a new journey as a trainer. Even the most hardened punter could not begrudge his first winner aboard the Richard Hannon trained Gibeon on Thursday. A typical Hughesy ride, drawing away from the field and just holding off old friend Frankie Dettori on the favourite Keble. With a mixture of relief and delight across his face, Hughes exclaimed "I'm glad I've got one, I can retire a happy man now!" In the same race, Wolverhampton maiden winner Scooner finished a very respectable fourth - just over five lengths off the aforementioned victor. Scooner, trained by Roger Charlton, displays the growing number of top class trainers running their horses on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton Racecourse on the way to rising through the racing ranks.

Hughes started as favourite with most bookmakers to finish at top jockey at the festival but the fairytale didn't quite happen for Richard as he gained one more winner the following day on Belvoir Bay, again for his brother-in-law Mr Hannon. The close bond that Hughes has had with the Hannons has been crucial to his vastly successful riding career and I am sure that he has picked up plenty of tips from them in preparation for taking the first steps into his new vocation. All-weather followers will remember Richard Hannon Jnr's first winner as a trainer, when he sent out Unscripted at Wolverhampton in January 2014 to win on his debut under an easy ride for Sean Levey, will Hughes follow in Hannon's footsteps and have his first winner on the all-weather, under the floodlights in Wolverhampton?

It was the previously-mentioned Dettori who won the accolade of top jockey, rolling back the years with a fantastic six winners. Four of those were for Al Shaqab, the Qatari owner who retain him, and one of these was aboard Dubday - the first horse trained in Qatar to win a race in Britain. Tehse results will have delighted the new sponsors and shows the increasing influence that Al Shaqab are having on horse racing, challenging well-established names like Godolphin. Incidentally, one of the six not linked to the growing ownership powerhouse was Qatar Stewards' Sprint Stakes winner Golden Steps. A horse having started out finishing second in a six furlong maiden here at Wolverhampton, it was another nod to the #WolvesForm and represented a day where Dettori won both the Stewards' Cup and its consolation race. It was a great sight to behold Frankie's infamous flying dismount throughout the festival and it is obvious that he really is revelling in his racing again.

Despite being eclipsed in terms of overall winners, the celebrations after Hughes' final ride on Saturday were the loudest of the week. The outpouring of admiration and emotion from fans and fellow jockeys alike showed how great a servant he has been to horse racing and I have doubt he will continue to be so in his new role. Surely it is only a matter of time before Hughesy is celebrating a success as a fully fledged trainer at the celebrated Sussex Downs racecourse.

Whatever the name or sponsorship, Glorious Goodwood has a special place in the hearts of racing fans, and long may that continue.

Author: Luke Archer

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Ska band Madness will be performing here on Friday 25 September, live after an evening race meeting, as part of their Grandslam tour.

Our Managing Director, David Roberts, said “I am delighted we will be welcoming Madness to the racecourse later this year. Madness will be the biggest act to perform at the racecourse, and this serves as testament to how successful previous live music evenings have been for Wolverhampton Racecourse and the wider Arena Racing Company group.”

Best known for chart topping hits such as “Baggy Trousers”, “House of Fun”, “One Step Beyond” and “It Must Be Love”, to name but a few, Madness have achieved international recognition as one of the greatest Ska bands of all time.

Since their rise to prominence in the early 1980’s, Madness, lead always by ‘Suggs’, have sold out arenas, headlined festivals and picked up an array of top musical accolades. The band has achieved fifteen UK top ten singles and two UK number one albums.

Most recently the band released the “One Step Beyond – 35th Anniversary” album and will be touring the country throughout 2015.

The concert will take place after racing on Friday 25 September in the Centre Course. Anyone purchasing a ticket will get to enjoy a full race meeting followed by the concert.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling us on 01902 390000. Keep up to date with the racecourse news and information via Twitter (@WolvesRaces) and on Facebook (‘Wolverhampton Racecourse').

Thursday, 12 February 2015


Chart topping, local rock band Slade will be performing at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Saturday 5 September, live after an evening race meeting.

Wolverhampton Racecourse’s Managing Director, David Roberts, said “It’s fantastic to have such a high profile band performing at the racecourse, returning to the Black Country where they originated from back in the late 60’s. After the great success of UB40 live after racing on last year’s feature music evening date, we are very much looking forward to Slade continuing with the success of live music events at the racecourse.”

Slade rose to fame in the 1970’s glam rock era with hits including “Coz I Luv You”, “Cum On Feel the Noize”, “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me”. The band has enjoyed six number one singles and three number one albums, with their hits topping the charts across the globe.

The concert will take place after racing on Saturday 5 September. Anyone purchasing a ticket will get to enjoy a full race meeting followed by the concert.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by call 01902 390000. Keep up to date with the racecourse news and information via Twitter (@WolvesRaces) and on Facebook (‘Wolverhampton Racecourse’).

Monday, 2 February 2015

First Live Music Event of 2015!


First Live Music Event of 2015!

We are fast approaching our first live music event of the year on Saturday 7th February, with live after racing entertainment from 80’s band “Wham Bam Duran”. We still have hospitality packages available so feel free to contact our sales on team 01902 390000 to book your tickets now. We may not have had any live music events since December, but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy.

Our Christmas party season was a huge success, and our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed party went down a treat! Oompa Loompa's were on hand to entertain throughout the night, much to the delight of the party goers.

Boxing Day this year was extremely busy, with all hospitality packages sold out and thousands of families coming through the turnstiles, to share the festive spirit with us and fellow race goers. Not even the snow was able to put people off from an extremely busy day. Boxing Day also proved to be a success not only for us, but also for the Godolphin team, who in the Boxing Day snow, continued their winning ways with Greatest Journey (pictured) taking the Class 3 penultimate race in the hands of Alistair Rawlinson.


2015 is looking like it is going to be another successful year for Saturday night entertainment after racing. There are live music and tribute nights to suit everyone’s tastes, a few highlights being:

Saturday 7th February – 80’s night with Wham Bam Duran

You requested those 80's power hits, and we've booked Wham Bam Duran to perform them for you! Classics from Duran Duran, Wham, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Wet Wet Wet and the Pet Shop Boys are all on the agenda.


 Saturday 14th March – Madness tribute with One Step Beyond

Previous years have seen race goers go wild for previous Madness tributes, we know that this year, racecourse debutants One Step Beyond with provide race goers with a fantastic night of music.


 Saturday 11th April – Abba tribute with Swede Dreams

Abba tribute band Swede dreams will be performing all the bands best known songs for what is sure to be an entertaining and fun filled night.



We’ve not been in short supply of racing since we last blogged, witnessing 13 fixtures in little over a month. La Estrella (pictured) is one of the most notable winners over this period, after success here at 1m4f in December, the 12 year old went on to win at fellow ARC and All-Weather Championship course Lingfield Park, equalling the all-weather wins record set last year at 26 by Stand Guard, who has since retired, it shouldn’t be long before La Estrella is turned out again in an attempt to break the record. From all-weather stalwarts on four legs to those on just two, king of the sand, Adam Kirby, notched his 1000th ever winner here just before the turn of the year, when he gave Copper Cavalier a fine ride for Robert Cowell and his owners. David Roberts, Managing Director of the racecourse, presented Adam with a bottle of fizz, surrounded by the jockeys he’d just fended competition off from as he has done on so many occasions here on the all-weather!