On Saturday the historic Hilary Needler Trophy and the valuable Brian Yeardley Trophy spearhead a fantastic day’s racing on the Westwood as Beverley Racecourse showcases one of its feature meetings of the racing calendar.
With both races offering guaranteed prize money of £25,000, there has been no shortage of top class entries for both races and with some top stables set to be represented across the card it looks set to be a cracking day’s racing at the East Yorkshire track.
Despite losing its listed status in recent years, The Hilary Needler trophy has long since been regarded as a potential stepping stone to Royal Ascot for two-year-old fillies hoping to tackle the illustrious Queen Mary Stakes in June.
The five furlong sprint is now considered a class Two Conditions stakes but it was only 2003 when Mark Johnston’s remarkable filly Attraction was victorious in the Beverley showpiece before triumphing in the Queen Mary and the following years English and Irish 1,000 guineas to become the Hilary Needler’s most successful and notorious winner.
This year’s vintage renewal of the Hilary Needler Conditions Stakes has the potential to unearth a real superstar with a number of top stables represented, including champion trainer Richard Hannon, Newmarket handler William Haggas, Group One-winning trainer Mick Channon as well as the top local stables of Richard Fahey and Kevin Ryan.
Native Yorkshireman William Haggas loves nothing more than returning to God’s own county for a successful raid from his adopted Newmarket base and he could be set for more success as his Besharah could be the real deal in the Hilary Needler Condition Stakes (3.15) on Saturday.
Mightily impressive on her debut at Ascot, where she came from nearly last to first under Pat Cosgrave, and with Beverley’s stiff uphill finish looking certain to play to her strengths, she could certainly be the class act in the field.
It looked a strong maiden in which she stormed home with all the top stables represented and with the only runner to run since, the seventh-placed Palenville coming out and winning a hot maiden at Newmarket next time out, the form looks solid.
With nine of the 15 declared runners already winners, it’s an extremely competitive affair although Norton trainer Tony Coyle feels his speedy filly New Road Side, a close fifth in a hot York maiden at the recent Dante festival, can improve to take the honours.
He said: “We were happy with her at York, but she didn’t quite get home, I don’t think. It’s easy to say now, but perhaps I was a bit too soft with her at home before the race, and maybe that told late on. She came out of York very well, though, and we still think we’ve got a good one on our hands.
“We’ll give her plenty of work on the grass this week, and then we’ll look to Beverley. The Hilary Needler looks the perfect race for her and she should have no problems handling the track. Her sire, Paco Boy, loves firm going, but she’s pretty versatile with whatever the ground might be like. We still think she’s a very, very good filly.”
Richard Fahey is doubly represented with both debutant winner’s Holy Grail and Kept Under Wraps, while his North Yorkshire counterparts Kevin Ryan and Nigel Tinkler will send out Company Asset and Arranmore Girl.
Other notable runners are Richard Hannon’s Windsor maiden winner Great Page, James Given’s Doncaster maiden winner Strands of Silk, Michael Dods-trained Easton Angel and the recent Wolverhampton scorer Opal Tiara trained by Mick Channon.
The Brian Yeardley Continental Two Year Old Trophy Condition Stakes looks an equally tricky puzzle to solve with eight of the 11 declared already won races this season; however it is Charlie Appleby’s sole entrant on the card, Carrington, that takes the eye.
The Godolphin owned two year old was a very impressive winner last time out at Chelmsford. After a sluggish start, he readily powered clear of his rivals to record a cosy three-length success, despite looking green.
He can only improve upon this and with his pedigree suggesting he will be suited in time with a step up in trip, the stiff five-furlong finish at the Westwood track should be ideal.
Kings Mimic gives local trainer Ann Duffield a realistic chance of scooping a big pot after an impressive recent course and distance victory confirmed her high opinion of her speedy juvenile
He said: “He’s a full-of-fun horse and loves racing, and I think that last maiden at Beverley was very good.
“He’s a nice horse and we’ve got high hopes for him, The good thing about him is that he can go either five or six furlongs, so he’s very versatile in that respect, The Brian Yeardley could be a good option for him.”
An intriguing first runner at the track for former Godolphin Racing Manager turned trainer Simon Crisford takes the eye as his First Selection tries to build on an impressive Southwell victory and Mark Johnston will be hoping to continue his blistering form after a four-timer last week at York as his Musselburgh maiden winner Furiant looks to build on his master trainer’s impressive two-year-old record this season.
Richard Fahey is again doubly represented by two debutant winners in the shape of Lathom and Gallipoli, who must hold every chance, while Richard Hannon’s sole entrant Spongy would have to make dramatic improvement to reverse placing’s with the selection Carrington.
Carrington - 2.40, Beverley, Saturday.
Besharah - 3.10, Beverley, Saturday.