TIM EASTERBY, who won the feature race on Macmillan Charity Day at York 12 months ago, can complete an encore today in one of the toughest handicaps of the season to solve.
The Great Habton trainer sent out Body And Soul to take the £100,000 BetBright Charity Sprint last year and can clinch the honours again this afternoon with See The Sun, the mount of David Allan and one of Easterby's two runners in the six-furlong dash.
See The Sun, who carries the same colours as Body And Soul - those of Charles Stevens - finished a close-up second at Pontefract over this distance on his re-appearance but was a beaten favourite at Chester next time when a combination of dropping to the minimum distance and the soft ground counted against him.
Conditions and trip are likely to suit See The Sun much better this afternoon. It is, however, a head-scratcher of a race.
Easterby also has another useful string to his bow in Ventura Mist, who finished just ahead of See The Sun at Chester, but who may have handled the ground a bit better, while Richard Fahey is three-handed and David O'Meara has two chances.
Several others, including Charles Molson, who was unlucky last time, make appeal, but, in a wide-open race See The Sun may be the one to come out on top.
The £20,000 Queen Mother's Cup is the richest race for lady amateur riders in Europe and the winning rider receives her weight in champagne. It might well be that Serena Brotherton, who has won this race in the past, can do so again on Pearl Castle.
John Quinn's charge developed into a decent hurdler last season after twice winning on the Flat last year for Andrew Balding. He has plenty going for him.
Fury, who ran a blinder to finish a close-up fourth to Abseil at Epsom last week, can give Frankie Dettori a winning ride in the JCB Handicap, while Fencing, another Dettori mount, should go well in the Ian And Kate Hall Macmillan Ganton Stakes after his luckless run at Windsor last time. David O'Meara's Dutch Rose, unbeaten in four visits to York, is among the dangers.
King Of The Celts (4.25) ran well enough at Ripon last time to warrant an interest, while Intiwin (5.00), who shaped well at Haydock on his debut, and Time And Place (5.35), who is blinkered for the first time, provide Richard Fahey with good chances of winning the last two races, the Malton trainer being responsible for no fewer than five of the ten runners in the penultimate contest.
At Sandown, G Force, a winner at York last month, steps up to Listed company in the Betfred Scurry Stakes.
Trained by David O'Meara, this exciting sprinter, who had also scored at Newcastle on his seasonal debut, is rising swiftly up the ranks after his latest Knavesmire success in a hot handicap. The three-year-old is fancied to lift this event before elevating himself into Group-race company. Danny Tudhope has the mount.
O'Meara and Tudhope also have good prospects with the rejuvenated St Moritz (2.20), while Kevin Ryan is likewise well represented by Galvanize (4.05), a Ripon winner last time out.
2.05 Pearl Castle (NAP), 2.40 Fury, 3.15 Fencing, 3.50 See The Sun, 4.25 King Of The Celts, 5.00 Intiwin, 5.35 Time And Place.
1.50 Provident Spirit, 2.20 St Moritz, 2.55 G Force, 3.30 Tagula Night, 4.05 Galvanize, 4.40 Obsidian, 5.15 Pernica.
Today's other meetings
Bath, Chester, Hexham, Leicester, Lingfield and Musselburgh.
Doncaster and Salisbury.