RICHARD FAHEY, successful 12 months ago in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap with Baccarat, fires four shots at today's William Hill-sponsored Ripon showpiece and can hit the target again with Tatlisu, the mount of crack Irish jockey Declan McDonagh.
Nothing if not consistent, Tatlisu has been in the form of his life this summer. A winner at Newcastle's Northumberland Plate meeting, he has since finished a close-up second in the Scottish Stewards' Cup at Hamilton and was again beaten only inches into third place at Glorious Goodwood on his latest outing a fortnight ago.
Fahey, who also runs Supplicant, Flyman and Majestic Moon - all horses with fighting chances - may have slight concerns about the mid-field draw position of Tatlisu in a race which normally favours horses on one rail or the other. Coming out of stall 12 may not be a help to his chances, but the useful Tatlisu is fancied to make a bold bid to bag the lion's share of this £70,000 event.
The William Hill Silver Trophy, worth £20,000, is confined to those horses which fail to make the cut in the Great St Wilfrid. Once again a wide-open race is in prospect, but the vote goes to Gran Canaria Queen, trained by Tim Easterby and the mount of Rachel Richardson, who teams-up with course winner Fast Shot in the feature event.
Gran Canarai Queen, rather like Tatlisu, has been in admirably consistent form lately and is pitched near the stands rail. She has genuine each-way prospects In a race where Easterby also saddles another live contender in Soul Brother, the mount of McDonagh.
The £15,000 Ripon Horn Blower Conditions Stakes offers Surewecan the chance to resume winning ways.
Mark Johnston's juvenile finished fifth, beaten only six lengths, in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes, won by Ivawood, at Goodwood last time. He is expected to take plenty of beating, dropped in class here.
Jodies Jem (4.00), who should appreciate the one-mile trip and will also have the assistance of George Chaloner, and the promising Dianora (5.10), trained by Sir Michael Stoute, pictured, are two others to note on Ripon's big day.
At Doncaster, Ribblehead is napped to win the Betfred Handicap over a mile and a quarter.
Tim Easterby's three-year-old, unraced last year when he was trained in Newmarket, made a winning debut at Redcar last month. There looks to plenty more to come from him and this step up in distance on his handicap debut is expected to suit. He is fancied to oblige again with Ted Durcan taking the mount.
King Torus makes plenty of appeal in the Betfred Bingo Handicap.
One of two runners in the race for Stillington trainer Ruth Carr, also represented by Victoire de Lyphar, King Torus won his first three races this season and has since finished a creditable sixth at Ascot. He should go well.
Nanton is a real stalwart of Jim Goldie's Scottish yard and the evergreen veteran goes for the Betfred Apprentice Handicap.
The 12-year-old was a winner on this course three weeks ago, which showed that he retains a fair slice of his former high-class ability. He should not be underestimated under Jordan Nason.
Also worth noting on Town Moor are Easterby's Surround Sound (2.30), who keeps threatening to win, and Lawrence Mullaney's Jack Luey (4.50), who has run some cracking races in defeat this summer. More rain will aid his chances.
2.15 Thorkhill Star, 2.50 Gran Canaria Queen, 3.30 Tatlisu, 4.00 Jodies Jem, 4.35 Surewecan, 5.10 Dianora, 5.45 Mighty Missile.
2.30 Surround Sound, 3.05 Tilted Lady, 3.40 Tap Your Toes, 4.15 King Torus, 4.50 Jack Luey, 5.25
Ribblehead (NAP), 6.00 Nanton.
Today’s other meetings: Newbury, Newmarket, Chester, Doncaster, Perth, Lingfield and Market Rasen.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Pontefract and Southwell.