7:20 Beverley (27th May)

A typically large field for this valuable listed race for fillies - the Hilary Needler Trophy.

Little Scotland ran a cracker at York and gave the impression this stiffer test would be no problem. She looks to hold Diamond Laura and Azif but can she prove as successful from such a low draw?

Don't Tell Mary won well on debut and that was a fair effort against Channon's juvenile, Toga Tiger. Clearly she needs to step up again to take a race of this nature, but she could do no more than win on her racecourse bow and with a high draw connections will be hoping for a big run. Dascombe has plenty of decent juveniles so must have a good idea of her ability.

Mark Johnston's The Hermitage ran well debut and won a poor race next start. She is rather small and lacking scope but it is interesting her trainer has gone for this race and she may be better than she looks. Once again the low draw may be a distinct disadvantage unless the going becomes softer and they race along the stands' rail.

As far as ability goes this doesn't look a race that too many can win. There will no doubt be a surprise or two with unexposed juveniles improving but the draw could be a killer blow for many. Unless the going turns soft I would have to go with a high draw and it will be interesting how bookmakers price this factor into this market. Diamond Laura may be a decent price because most people consider that Little Scotland has her beating but the difference in their respective draws may bring them closer together. I would need a speculative price to consider betting in such a competitive race although it could be a contest where that is a possibility.

A watching race.

Race review: 'A big field and an easy winner in Don't Tell Mary. This was a classy performance and the way she ran to the line must give her great hopes at royal Ascot which often turns into a burn-up where few horses last home. A few nippy horses here were found out in similar manner and high-class races leave few hiding places. The Hermitage ran a very good race showing good speed and Johnston's filly is much better than her form had looked. She is a touch nut considering she is so lightly built. Little Scotland had no luck in running and could have quite easily finished second. She is a talented juvenile and while connections will be disappointed today they will have good chances in the near future.'


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