Tuesday 29 May 2012

7:35 Beverley (30th May) Hilary Needler Trophy

The Hilary Needler Trophy over 5f on good to firm ground. Disappointing to see this race lose its Listed status demoted to a Fillies'  Conditions Stakes. With a prize of £13,384 it is no surprise to see a good field of thirteen, ten winners, and one debutante.

*Bailey's Jubilee looked to have a favourite's chance heading to Royal Ascot after two stylish victories but those dreams - and punter's money - may have been lost with a disappointing sixth in the Marygate Listed race at York. To start 2/5f takes some doing but that performance must have left Johnston scratching his head. Perhaps in hindsight she hadn't beaten a great deal on her second start and may have been forward on debut at Kempton. However, it still takes some questioning as to why this Bahamian Bounty faded so tamely after showing good speed. Whether she will get back to winning ways here is anyone's guess but it may be unwise to dash those Royal hopes just yet. There will be no excuses today. A low draw is a positive start but I would have to take a watching brief.

Woodland Mill, a daughter of Pastoral Pursuits, ran out an easy winner on debut at Kempton. However, finishing third on her second start at Southwell looked a poor show. In fairness the form of that race has been franked with Secret Destination proving to be a decent two-year-old when second to Polski Max. Richard Fahey's filly was sent off a 50/1 shot for the Marygate Listed race at York but ran a supreme race and may have even won if things had gone her way. After being hampered in the early stages, this brown filly ran on will a flourish, which suggests this Beverley climb will be right up her street. On balance, that wasn't the strongest of Listed races but there was much to like about her that day.

Mayfield Girl finished just ahead of Woodland Mill at York. Mel Brittain is a trainer I have a lot of time for and this athletic daughter of One Cool Cat is a very pacey juvenile. A wide draw is not ideal and it will be interesting whether Winston [jockey] sits in behind or takes a deep breath and scorchs to the lead. I would have concerns she will tire in the final furlong after making a bold show. The draw looks to be a killer blow and Woodland Mill would be favoured of this pair.

Dream Vale is held and would need an excuse to reverse the form with the above mentioned. 

In my opinion Sylvia Pankhurst will be outclassed.

Another who needs to put a poor last effort behind her is Tharawal Lady. John Quinn's two-year-old is a fair-looking daughter of Moss Vale. However, she probably won a poor race on debut and then put in her place in the Lily Agnes. Chester is very much a specialist course and this March foal may have failed due to its idiosyncratic nature.  I would have to take a watching brief.

Others best watched include Blue Clumber & *Cymeriad who need a transformation to figure.

The debutante, Our Diane, is fielded in the second colours of Middleham Park Racing and from a wide draw has a mountain to climb. Roxan - trained by Kevin Ryan - won this race in 2006 as a debutante. However, this daughter of Exceed And Excel would be a major surprise. Very unlikely.

The remainder of the field are all promising juveniles who in many ways have the potential to be talents. The problem for most is that the resting place between hope and attainment often lies below a chasm of failed dreams. Racing is built on such dream - some come true. There are a handful of two-year-olds who deserve respect.

Jadanna was spoken of in glowing terms by James Given after winning in good style at Pontefract on debut. This daughter of Mujadil hails from Danethorp Racing Partnership who have been connected with a number of talented horses and a power to the Given's yard. This March foal had no problems when encountering the testing conditions that day and won by three lengths. The form of that race has been franked to some extent and although more is needed you should never limit the potential of an easy winner. Given's holds this youngster in high regard. She looks the type to sit off the pace and a wide draw may not be such a problem. If able to sit just behind the lead she may finish with style.

It's good to see Kevin Ryan putting his faith in the talents of his daughter [Amy] who recently lost her claim. Lasilia made her debut in the same race, finishing fifth. She was fancied in the betting but faltered. There is little doubt this bay filly failed to show her worth on that racecourse bow. That point was illustrated for all to see when winning in style at Hamilton. I was struck by the amount of money which came for this daughter of Acclamation. Connections must have been convinced she would reverse form with Princess In Exile who was a much bigger price. Julie Burke gave Lasilia a great race and there could be more to come. A wide draw is a negative but an interesting juvenile who could progress.

Bill Turner has hit a golden seam with this season's year's two-year-olds and Judy In Disguise most certainly leads the way. This daughter of Elusive City gave rather mixed signals on debut. I noted at the time, this bay filly had been entered to run in a selling race, which doesn't inspire confidence. But contrary to being weak in the betting on her debut at Folkestone she was very well backed. In truth that was a pretty poor race but she could do no more than win, clawing towards the finishing line with as much energy as she started. It was difficult to know what to make of her claims at Salisbury, attempting Stakes class for the first time can often show a horse's limitation. However, this filly powered to an easy victory and beat a couple of fair measures in the process. Even with Tassel finishing lame it was a performance worthy of much respect. All On Red has since won with ease, Rio's Pearl has been beaten by a couple of Hannon hot pots, while Effie B ran a stormer in the Marygate Listed race at York. On form you could quite easily consider she has the ability to win this race. Originally owned by Bill Turner (his daughter), ridden by his grandson - it is a true family affair. It is especially satisfying to hear that Turner has sold this prospect to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and within a couple of races (perhaps here and Royal Ascot) she will continue her career in America. No doubt connections sold this filly for a good price and it is fully deserved and a reflection of this talented buyer/trainer. A low draw looks ideal and she could be smart.   

Last but not least is Threes Grand. Scott Dixon is making his name as a talented trainer and his juveniles have been in cracking form. The stable are making the most of their able sire Milk It Mick and winning at Windsor on debut was a fine start to the season. This £3,000 yearling purchase is a great buy. This youngster has a never-say-die attitude which will see her well. The form of her debut effort has been franked with the second, third and fourth all capable. She ran a great race when upped in class when behind Heavy Metal who is held in high regard by Mark Johnston. In ways Threes Grand didn't have much go right that day with a few minor factors which meant she was always playing catch-up. This two-year-old has a great attitude, settled and likely to finish with purpose which is a plus.

Conclusion: In many ways these competitive race are a pleasure to watch rather than bet. However, they can offer value if you can pick the wheat from the chaff. A fair number of these have little chance. What do you make of Bailey's Jubilee? After looking a major hope for Royal Ascot another disappointment will be probably cull those aspirations. She may take this with ease but a question mark and a short price never sit very comfortably with me. A watching brief. Woodland Mill ran well at York and could have won if things had gone her way. I have slight concerns she will be outpaced but looks certain to run on with spirit. A fair each way prospect. Judy In Disguise is a speedy filly and a bundle of energy. This is another test but a horse with potential. I wish Turner and her new owners every success. Threes Grand is a determined soul but may find one or two too good.  Jadanna & Lasilia have the potential to be talents and for that reason deserve respect.