Hawke hopes Pearl will be 
a diamond

Wetherby hosts the Grade Two Towton Novices Chase on Saturday.
Wetherby hosts the Grade Two Towton Novices Chase on Saturday.
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DEVON trainer Nigel Hawke hopes to find out more about Pearl Royale when he takes her to Wetherby for the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase on Saturday.

Hawke has had this Grade Two contest over three miles at the West Yorkshire venue in mind for the six-year-old since she made a winning debut over fences at Wincanton on Boxing Day.

“This has been ‘Plan A’ since Wincanton. It’s one of those situations where we could look around and find easy races, but she’s a nice mare and we need to know how nice she is, because there are one or two nice races for this type of horse at the end of the season,” he said. “What I don’t want to do is chuck her in at the deep end and get it wrong. I’d rather see at what standard we are at the moment.”

Heading the 17 entries for the Towton is Nicky Henderson’s French import Terrefort, who made a successful British debut at Huntingdon earlier this month. However, the five-year-old has an alternative target in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on the same afternoon.