The £60,000 Listed Beverley Bullet Stakes was created in 2004 and quickly became established as a leading fixture in the Yorkshire racing calendar.
Scottish Trainer Ian Semple landed the first two runnings with the popular gelding Chookie Heiton. His name did not feature in many Beverley horse racing tips, winning at odds of 40-1 under Tom Eaves. The following season he defeated Hughie Morrison’s Baltic King by three-quarters of a length. The runner-up won the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2006 before going one better in the Bullet.
Hellvelyn became the first three-year-old to win the race for Bryan Smart and Ted Durcan in 2007. This age group dominated the race for four consecutive seasons with victories for Look Busy (2008), Exceptional Art (2009) and Mister Hughie (2010).
Hambleton House based Smart won the Bullet for a second time with Tangerine Trees in 2011. He followed up in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, beating a field which included Sole Power, Wizz Kid and Margot Did. Tangerine Trees returned to Beverley on five occasions but failed to add to his previous victory. He won 14 of his 62 career starts but even his impressive record was surpassed by the 2012 winner, Borderlescott.
He was trained at Cowthorpe, Wetherby by Robin Bastiman and was ridden to victory in the Bullet by Frederik Tylicki. He was ten years old at the time and it would turn out to be the last of his 13 career victories, amassing almost half a million pounds in prize money. His victories included The Stewards’ Cup in 2006 and The Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in 2008 and 2009.
Borderlescott tried to repeat his victory in 2013 but could not quite reel in Stepper Point and run-ner-up York Glory. The winner went on to be successful at Group 2 and Group 3 level in Ireland. Jamie Spencer rode the winner of the Bullet for the next two years on the high class Pearl Secret (2014) and Maarek (2015).
Pearl Secret beat Mirza, Line of Reason and Kingsgate Native in an excellent renewal, the four horses finishing within three-quarters of a length. Pearl Secret underlined the quality of the Bever-ley Bullet field by winning the Group 2 Temple Stakes the following season.
Maarek was regarded as something of a mudlark after winning the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2013. There was just sufficient give in the ground for him to beat Line of Reason in the 2015 renewal. Maarek is still in training this season at the age of eleven with over £770,000 in career earnings.
Smart continued his strong association with the race when winning it for a third time in 2016 with Alpha Delphini. The son of Captain Gerrard beat Willietheconqueror by a neck with the favourite Muthmir a short-head back in third place. Alpha Delphini returned to win the Eddie and Violet Smith Conditions Stakes here in September. He was only narrowly beaten by Mr Lupton at York in July and a return visit to Beverley could well be on the cards.
The latest name on the Beverley Bullet roll of honour is the veteran Take Cover. He was a popular winner last year at the age of ten after being backed down to 3-1 favourite. Take Cover also re-mains in training and finished fifth in the recent York race. With an exciting line-up of established stars and rising talent anticipated, the stage is set for the 15th running of the Beverley Bullet on Saturday 1st September.