Dual Group One winner Angel Bleu is set to begin his 2023 campaign in the Listed Spreadex Sports Lady Wulfruna Stakes, live on Sky Sports Racing on Saturday, the first of two Fast-Track Qualifiers at Wolverhampton.
Angel Bleu was one of Europe’s leading two-year-olds in 2021, taking the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood before a memorable double in France’s Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Criterium International.
The Dark Angel colt ran three times against top opposition last year, most recently finishing fifth behind Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Trainer Ralph Beckett said: “Angel Bleu has been in training all winter and the intention is to start him off at Wolverhampton on Saturday.
“This is not a prep for the All-Weather Championships finals but it is a prep for the rest of the year.”
With a place in the £150,000 All-Weather Mile Championships on offer, the 14 entries also feature Berkshire Shadow and Lusail, who were fifth and sixth respectively in last season’s 2000 Guineas.
Hannon has won two of the last three editions of the Lady Wulfruna, including in 2021 with Mums Tipple, who could line up again.
The trainer said: “I have given Lusail an entry and we will decide whether he runs once I have discussed it with Al Shaqab Racing. He has come back from Saudi as good as gold. I thought he ran well out there but it showed he needs a bit further than that. He will go on the surface at Wolverhampton no problem and could well take his chance.
“Mums Tipple has the option of the Lady Wulfruna or the six-furlong handicap. He has obviously won the Lady Wulfruna before and would have a good chance in either race.”
Other notable entries include the Charlie Appleby-trained Noble Dynasty, successful in three of his last four starts, and fellow Lingfield Park scorer Dhabab for John and Thady Gosden.
Prolific all-weather sprinter Harry’s Bar is one of two entries for Irish trainer Ado McGuinness. The Roger Varian-trained Tinker Toy will be looking to rediscover the form that saw him beat a field that included multiple Group One-winning sprinter Highfield Princess 12 months ago.