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Aviation Time ready to take off in Hilary Needler

Aviation Time ready to take off in Hilary Needler
Aviation Time ready to take off in Hilary Needler

Aviation Time has the chance to play herself on to Richard Hughes’ Royal Ascot teamsheet when she takes flight in the Hilary Needler Trophy EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Beverley.

One of the highlights of the year on the Westwood, the race eluded Hughes during his time in the weighing room but he could have the ideal candidate to get on the roll of honour as a trainer.

Aviation Time made the perfect start to her on-track career at Kempton, keeping on well to strike over six furlongs.

Unsure if she has what it takes to land a blow in the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting, her trainer is keen to use this as a stepping stone to test the waters ahead of future assignments.

Hughes said: “She’s done nothing wrong so far and I think she has improved since her run at Kempton, which will give her a bit of a chance.

“She’s drawn 10 which isn’t ideal, but I have a very good jockey on board (James Doyle) and hopefully she will overcome that.

“She was a slow burner really and we weren’t thinking she would run that well first time out, but she went and won really well. She’s definitely improved since then and is a nice filly.

“I didn’t think she was a Queen Mary winner and this was the other option, but if she was to run well or win this, then maybe we can have a think about backing her up again at Ascot. It’s a nice stepping stone for her.”

Aviation Time is owned by Steve Parkin’s Bronte Collection syndicates, with Karl Burke’s Windsor scorer Storm Call another to sport their colours.

Trainer Karl Burke (right) will saddle three in the Hilary Needler
Trainer Karl Burke (right) will saddle three in the Hilary Needler (Steven Paston for the Jockey Club/PA)

Spigot Lodge handler Burke is also responsible for the Nick Bradley Racing-owned pair of Larchill Lass and Invincible Annice, who like Storm Call, both head to the Westwood on the back of victory.

Invincible Annie was beaten by Adrian Keatley’s Chantilly hero Francisco’s Piece on debut before proving successful in a seller only seven days ago and is highly rated by her team ahead of this attempt in deeper company.

“We nearly went for the Listed race in France that Francisco’s Piece won and if he had not have gone to France, we probably would have,” explained Nick Bradley.

“I didn’t really want to run her in the seller but it was a good opportunity to win £10,000. We had to pay £4,000 to buy her back and still won £6,500 so it was nice enough and I think she will have a good chance at Beverley.”

Adrian Nicholls is another former jockey who never got his hands on this prize while riding, but would be a popular winner if his Maw Lam could follow up her taking Thirsk debut.

Maw Lam was three-quarters of a length ahead of George Scott’s Mademoiselle on that occasion and the Newmarket-based handler is looking forward to the rematch with his improving Amo Racing-owned filly.

“It’s really good prize-money this close to Ascot and therefore it is appealing for a filly like ours, who looks to be on the improve but so far has not shown enough quality to go to the Royal meeting,” said Scott.

“We were really hoping to take on the horse that beat us from a better draw and I’m disappointed to be drawn so wide in stall 12 which is going to make things difficult.

“But she seems to be improving, I think she will like the track – a stiff five should be right up her street.

“I think the winner of this will definitely earn a ticket to Royal Ascot, whether that is ourselves or someone else. If we are three or four lengths out of it then so be it, but at this stage we felt this was the more sensible option than going straight to Ascot.”

Tom Clover’s Over Spiced and Michael Dods’ Brazilian Belle are others in the line-up arriving with a victory last time to their name as a total of 15 fillies head to post.

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