Lady Ayresome scores Hilary Needler victory

Lady Ayresome found an extra gear at the finish to run out a cosy winner of the Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Beverley.

All eyes were on Kyber Crystal, who had chased home impressive National Stakes winner Ebro River on her debut, but she was never able to get in a blow in the five-furlong affair.

Lady Ayresome (11-2) was already a winner over the course and distance last time, but she was drawn highest of the 11 runners on this occasion, with Kevin Stott getting her away smartly before tacking over towards the far rail.

He settled alongside Jilly Cooper before giving the Kevin Ryan-trained Lady Ayresome the signal to go on a furlong from home, with Guilded swiftly setting out in pursuit down the middle of the track.

However, when Guilded got to Lady Ayresome’s quarters, the winner kicked again, eventually coming home three-quarters of a length clear, with Jilly Cooper sticking on for third, a further three and three-quarter lengths behind.

Betfair offer 20-1 about Lady Ayresome’s chances in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Stott said: “She was very tough, she stole a length and I had to either get her out or take her back. Obviously with the experience of winning here, she knew the track.

“She jumped really good and we’ve come across and got a nice lead – we got to the front a bit too early if anything, as she was just pricking her ears a bit a furlong down.

“Fair play to her, she’s very tough and she’ll get a bit further.”

Ryan’s son and assistant Adam added: “She’s taken a step up when we’ve asked her, so there’s surely something round the corner for her, but let’s get today over and done with first.

“She enjoys the stiff finish there, so I’d say she’s a filly that’s going to get six furlongs. Let’s get past today, but she’s obviously a filly that’s worthy of a crack at something better.

“I think she’s a filly that probably does want a bit of ease in the ground, hopefully she’ll get get six furlongs in time but we’ll just enjoy today before we make any plans.

“I’m delighted to for the Riverside Racing Syndicate, they’re all local to our area and it’s great to have a horse win like that.

“She’s such a game filly, wherever she goes you know you will get your money’s worth.”

As her name – and the name of the 20-strong Riverside Racing ownership syndicate, together with red and white colours – suggests, Lady Ayresome belongs to a group of avid Middlesbrough football fans.

Syndicate spokesman Graham Frankland said: “We came here more in hope than expectation, but she’s a game filly and she stuck her head out for us.

“We’re very happy that she’s got to this stage and we’re hoping that it hasn’t finished yet, that she’s got more to come.

“If we went to Royal Ascot, it would be the Albany (over six furlongs). It would be a dream come true to have a runner there. We started off with nothing two and a half years ago and this filly has given us something to really look forward to.”