David Probert says: “Wolverhampton is a flat oval, about a mile around, and it's a pretty fair track. It doesn't especially favour front-runners or hold up horses and there's generally no track bias in terms of the inside rail or wider. There are some things to think about at different distances, though.
At the minimum, five furlongs, you can go too quick, so it's not just a case of jump, handbrake off and try to last home; you need to ride a bit more of a race than that. If you don't hold on to something I don't think you'll get home generally. A low draw is an advantage as there's only a short run to the first turn and you don't want to get fanned three or four wide there.
There's a longer run to the turn over six, which means you've got more chance to get across from the wider stalls. The seven is a different game: it starts in a chute on the crown of a bend and, rather like the mile at Chelmsford, if you're drawn low you're in danger of getting squeezed for room a bit as the middle to wide drawn horses break across you. You need to be quickly away from an inside post or you'll normally find yourself in a position from where it's pretty much checkmate. If I'm drawn outside over seven I like to go forward and sit handy into and through that first turn.
Pace wise, they tend to go pretty hard from the gates over seven in order to grab a position, and then normally you can get a breather down the back straight, before kicking again from the three or the two. Races can often be quite stop-start at this distance.
Then there are two distances at around nine furlongs, one just a little bit shorter and one a bit longer. The shorter trip starts quite close to the stable bend; you need to be quick into the turn to get a position then, especially if there are a lot of runners. Obviously with the extended nine you've got a little bit more time to get in if you're drawn wider. Both are pretty fair trips really. One thing to be aware of, especially with inexperienced horses, is that sometimes they like to have a look at the stable bend there, so a rider has to be ready for that and get his horse on the right lead, successfully navigate that turn and then ride a race from there on.
The mile and a half starts quite close to the first turn, so you again can get caught out wide as everyone shuffles for a position into the bend. It's not until we turn into the home straight for the first time that everyone finds their own space and gets into a rhythm. Riders will then get a breather into their horses going into the bottom turn, unless there's loads of pace in the race with horses taking each other on at the front. Otherwise, from there it's generally fair enough to all.
Plenty of races there seem to have been pretty tactical lately and, when that's the case, the slow early pace means you ideally want a horse with a bit of a gear change. But it does vary from race to race. You can get away with making the running round there, and at the same time you can come from off the pace as well. It's probably the fairest of the all weather tracks in that regard."
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