GREAT HALL is napped to provide John Quinn with a day to remember at York this afternoon by carrying off the £265,000 Betfred Ebor Handicap.
The four-year-old, the mount of Philip Makin, has had just one outing for Quinn when finishing a close-up third in a Listed race on this course in July.
Previously trained by Brian Meehan, Great Hall was twice a winner last season when he was thought good enough to run in the St Leger. Although he failed to finish in the money in the Doncaster classic, he ran a respectable race to finish ninth.
Quinn has a high opinion of Great Hall, who has been gelded since taking up residence in North Yorkshire. He has been trained with this race in mind and makes appeal as a solid each-way prospect at 16-1.
Clever Cookie, who has done so well for Peter Niven this season, Retirement Plan, trained by Lady Cecil, who won last year's race with Tiger Cliffe, and the favourite Pallasator are among many with chances in this showpiece handicap. But Great Hall will do for me to strike a blow for the locals.
Richard Fahey, who is stepping up Gabrial considerably in trip in the Ebor, runs Innocent Touch in the Betfred Melrose Handicap and Paddy Mathers' mount should not be underestimated.
Tough and admirably consistent, Innocent Touch was narrowly beaten at Doncaster last time and at Chester on his previous outing. He faces his toughest task here but, off a light weight and guaranteed to stay every yard of the distance, he has a fighting chance.
The opening Betfred Strensall Stakes offers Farraaj a good chance of elevating his status on Knavesmire.
The Newmarket colt won the John Smith's Cup here in July, following-up an equally slick success at Epsom's Derby meeting.
He is now into Group 3 company, which presents him a new challenge, but Roger Varian's charge is fancied to raised his game accordingly and is narrowly preferred to David O'Meara's smart performer Custom Cut, a recent Pattern race winner in Ireland.
In the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes, Muhaarar gets the nod in an extremely tight race.
Although the winner of only one of his three starts, the Charlie Hills-trained youngster has run very creditably in defeat the last twice and may not have quite stayed seven furlongs at Ascot on his latest start. He should be well served by coming back in distance this afternoon.
Cheshire trainer Tom Dascombe is a dab hand with sprinters and he has a rising talent in Showing Character, who bids to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes.
Winner of both his starts at Chester, Showing Character has looked a well-above average sprinting juvenile. This fast five-furlong course should suit him perfectly.
Brian Ellison and Kevin Ryan are two North Yorkshire trainers with winners already at this meeting. The pair could score again on the final round of action.
Ellison has strong claims with Llarnanom Lad, an ultra-consistent talented performer, who will have Ryan Moore's assistance in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap.
The Qipco Future Stars Apprentice Handicap is the target for Ryan's Online Alexander, a good winner at Glorious Goodwood three weeks ago. He should give Kevin Stott a good ride in this five furlong.
2.05 Farraaj, 2.40 Innocent Touch, 3.15 Muhaarar, 3.50 Great Hall (NAP), 4.25 Showing Character, 5.00 Llarnamon Lad, 5.35 Online Alexander.
5.30 Nanton, 6.00 Bahamian Sunrise, 6.30 Lieutenant Kaffee, 7.00 Maiden Approach, 7.30 Soiree d'Ete, 8.00 Red Explorer.
Today's other meetings
Cartmel, Goodwood, Newmarket and Windsor.
Beverley, Goodwood and Yarmouth.