NORTH Yorkshire racing fans have a double treat today with an afternoon meeting at Catterick and an evening fixture at Ripon where the late, great David Chapman is honoured with a race in his memory.
The £12,000 David Chapman Memorial Handicap over five furlongs remembers the Stillington trainer, who excelled with sprinters and is fondly recalled as the man who expertly guided horses like Chaplin's Club, Glencroft, Quito and particularly 13-times winner Soba to become household names in northern racing circles.
The most fitting winner of his race would obviously by Mutafaakir, who is trained by his granddaughter, Ruth Carr, who is making a tremendous job of following the path set down by her grandfather and long-time mentor.
Mutafaakir, a winner at Ayr two starts ago and third to Silvanus at Catterick more recently, has a fighting chance. So too has Silvanus, who has been in excellent form this summer and who is trained by Paul Midgley. It might, however, be the other Midgley runner in this event - Adam's Ale - who comes out on top. He would be a very appropriate winner.
The gelding is owned by Muriel Hills, a sister of David Chapman, and the former owner of Soba. Adam's Ale has been running well this season, is a course-and-distance winner, has Graham Lee in the saddle and is set to receive weight from all bar one of his rivals.
Adam's Ale carrying the Soba colours to victory in David Chapman's race would certainly go down well with Ripon racegoers. And it's far from a remote possibility that it will happen. He is awarded the nap vote.
John Quinn, pictured, saddles Bold Captain in the Washroom Company Handicap and Phil Makin's mount is fancied to make a bold bid.
The three-year-old lost his maiden on this course last month when bravely winning over a mile. This extra two furlongs may eke out further improvement in him on his handicap bow.
Dr Irv is proving frustrating to follow this summer, but the Phil Kirby-trained five-year-old deserves another chance in the Theakstons Terrace Bar Handicap.
The gelding, owned by North Yorkshire enthusiast Irvine Lynch, who lives near Helmsley, has been a consistent money-spinner and has finished runner-up on his last two starts. He is fancied to go one better this time, perhaps at the main expense of David O'Meara's Almagest, winner of this two-miler last year.
Easy Carlisle winner Just The Tip (6.45), the mount of Norton jockey Tom Eaves, and the promising Mount Shamsan (8.45), sent north by Newmarket trainer William Haggas, are two others to follow.
At Catterick, Special Fighter will be hard to beat in the £10,000 Betfred Facebook Handicap, the feature race on the programme.
Mark Johnston's colt scored by an emphatic seven lengths at Beverley last week and a reproduction of that display will make him a tough nut to crack, even with a 6lb penalty. Joe Fanning will be in the saddle.
Fanning also teams up with Berland in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Maiden Stakes.
Trained at Newmarket by Michael Bell, the juvenile made a promising bow to finish second at Yarmouth three weeks ago. He should be a good deal wiser with that initial experience under his belt and is expected to go well over this seven furlongs.
Solar Spirit (4.15) won the Betfred TV Handicap twelve months ago and the nine-year-old, trained by the in-form Tracy Waggott, has every chance of producing an encore under York-based Robert Winston.
Also worthy of attention are the speedy Irish Girls Spirit (2.45) and Cahal (4.45), a course winner, who should appreciate the return to seven furlongs after finding six furlongs on this course last time more than he could handle.
2.15 Berland, 2.45 Irish Girls Spirit, 3.15 Special Fighter, 3.45 Gift Of Silence, 4.15 Solar Spirit, 4.45 Cahal.
6.15 Fullon Clarets, 6.45 Just The Tip, 7.15 Bold Captain, 7.45 Adam's Ale (NAP), 8.15 Dr Irv, 8.45 Mount Shamsan.
Today's other meetings: Ffos Las and Kempton.
Tomorrow's meetings: Brighton, Kempton, Lingfield, Pontefract and Yarmouth.