Our Little Pony attempts to win the biggest prize of her career when she lines up in the £20,000 Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes at Beverley’s final meeting of the season on Tuesday.
The locally-owned filly is a regular on the Westwood, having won at the track three times from eight starts. Two of those victories were achieved this summer, but she also showed her versatility with a convincing success at Thirsk on September 8.
Our Little Pony has gone up 5lb in the weights ahead of the five-furlong Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes (3.55), but trainer Lawrence Mullaney believes she will rise to the challenge for her Beverley owner Richard Swift.
The North Yorkshire-based handler said: “She’s been a great little filly for us. She’s improved with every run and hopefully she’s not done yet. For her to win at Thirsk last time, when we were worried about the ground, was an absolute delight. Richard lives within walking distance of the track and walks his dog on the Westwood every single day – he loves the place. For him to have winners at Beverley means so much to him.”
Mullaney is, however, realistic about the chances of Our Little Pony shaking up the big-hitters. He said: “This is a very stiff assignment but we know she’ll try her best. She’s only small, so she’s better off running with a low weight in a race like this. There aren’t many options for horses like her at this time of the year, but it’s Richard’s track and I’m sure she’ll run well for him. It’s a shot to nothing, but we’ll roll the dice and see what we can do. Whatever happens, she owes us nothing.”
The Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes is always an informative encounter, and was last year won by none other than subsequent Nunthorpe hero Alpha Delphini. Our Little Pony faces six rivals in this year’s renewal of the five-furlong dash, with Orvar set to carry top weight.
Perfect Pasture is the highest-rated horse in the field as he makes a brisk turnaround following a creditable effort in the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday. Last-time-out scorer Merhoob makes the journey from Newmarket, with Tricksy Spirit also involved for the Mick Channon operation. Savalas and Copper Knight complete the septet for the Beverley showpiece.
Earlier on the eight-race card, Mullaney saddles the appropriately named Beverley Bullet in the seven-and-a-half-furlong Colin McGurran @ Beverley Racecourse Handicap (3.20). The five-year-old son of Makfi won nicely at Carlisle in August but had no luck at Pontefract last Thursday. Mullaney said: “He had a very bad draw at Ponte, so that one can be forgotten and he didn’t have a hard race. He likes soft ground and if we get rain between now and Tuesday, that wouldn’t worry me one bit. He’ll be trying his best, and he certainly wouldn’t be out of it.”
Beverley’s final meeting of the season begins at 2.10pm, with the going currently soft, good to soft in places.