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RACING: Walford champing at the bit for Beverley honours

North Yorkshire trainer Mark Walford is optimistic Bit Of A Quirke can successfully defend his unbeaten record at Beverley on Sunday (August 27th). The four-year-old chestnut adores running on the Westwood and has already won twice over course and distance this season.

Bit Of A Quirke now bids for the Beverley hat-trick in division one of the mile-and-a-quarter handicap at 5.25pm. Walford said: “We’ve run him twice at Beverley over that distance and he’s won twice, so you can’t really argue with that. He will enjoy running on the ground on Sunday as it should be quicker than when it was soft at Pontefract last time.

“That said, he’s been a bit under-par on his last few runs, without running terribly, but he loves it at Beverley and that is a big thing. He’s 1lb higher than when he last won there so we’re reasonably confident he will bounce back to form.”

Bit Of A Quirke’s cause has also been aided by the reappointment of Dougie Costello, who did the steering when the gelded son of Monsieur Bond won by a neck at Beverley in April.

Sheriff Hutton-based Walford added: “Dougie rides Beverley well and will know exactly how to ride him.”

Walford and Costello team up earlier on the card with Cornborough, who runs in the Beverley Middle Distance Series Final Round Handicap at 3.40pm. The dual-purpose nine-year-old has also been in fine form this season, having won over a mile and a quarter at Redcar and at Haydock. His trainer said: “He’s a cracking little horse.

“We’re trying a mile and a half for the first time with him. While it is a bit of a question mark, we expect him to stay it well as he almost gets further than two miles over hurdles. It’s his first start to Beverley but I don’t think that will be a problem as he’s a very handy horse.”

Feature race on A Sunday Hop Raceday is the £10,000 Educare Of Beverley Nursery Handicap, which has attracted nine progressive sprinters – including Nigel Tinkler’s course-and-distance winner Roundhay Park.

Beverley’s eight-race card begins at 1.55pm, with the going currently described as good to firm, though watering is taking place to preserve conditions.

The forecast for Sunday is for hazy sunshine and highs of 20C.