TAHIRA, now trained in North Yorkshire after spending much of her career in Germany, can clinch the 55th John Smith's Cup on Knavesmire today.

An expected crowd of some 40,000 people will see this £150,000 showpiece unfold and Tahira, representing the Norton yard of John Quinn, is fancied to come out on top in the hands of Phil Makin.

Three times a winner in Germany, Tahira has had two outings for Quinn this season.

She finished seventh to Clever Cookie on her British debut on this course in May and has since chased home Running Deer at Chester. A step forward is now anticipated, particularly as the Quinn stable has struck form with a vengeance in the last few weeks.

Tahira, who met trouble in Clever Cookie's race earlier in the season, is now set to meet that Peter Niven-trained winner, who dead-heated in Listed company on this course last month, on more than a stone better terms. That should be enough to turn the tables.

There are, of course, lots of horses in this richly-endowed handicap with strong claims, not least John Gosden's Nabucco, the David O'Meara-trained Chancery and Sir Michael Stoute's Bold Sniper.

But Tahira, well berthed in stall five, has plenty going for her as she bids to her name to the distinguished John Smith's roll of honour and she is awarded the nap vote.

Ryan Moore, on board Bold Sniper in the feature event, should enjoy a good ride from Waila in the John Smith's Silver Cup.

Sir Michael Stoute's charge went down by only half a length to Freedom's Light in a similar Listed race at Pontefract three weeks ago.

G Force bids to get his career back in top gear in the John Smith's City Walls Stakes.

David O'Meara's colt won his first two races this season, including a good handicap here, before coming up short in likewise Listed company at Sandown from a less than ideal draw. He is worth a second chance to prove himself an upwardly mobile sprinter.

Kevin Ryan, pictured, has introduced some useful juveniles on this day in recent years and his booking of Ryan Moore for Flaming Spear looks significant. The two-year-old gets the chance to shine in the John Smith's Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

Eagle Rock won the John Smith's Stayers' Stakes for North Yorkshire trainer Tom Tate 12 months ago. It would be no surprise to see the gelding, recently successful at Nottingham, complete an encore.

The Darley July Cup takes pride of place at Newmarket and North Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan is strongly represented by his two star sprinters, Astaire, winner of last year's Gimcrack and Middle Park Stakes, and Hot Streak, winner of this season's Temple Stakes. The duo should run big races, but preference is for Slade Power, one of Edward Lynam's powerful pair of speedsters, who got the better of Astaire in last month's Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Slade Power could conceivably have most to fear from his stable mate Sole Power, brilliant winner of the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, but a better horse at the minimum trip. He might have to give best to 'Slade' over this six furlongs.

Paul Hanagan, who looks sure to enjoy a good ride on Diamond Jubilee third Aljamaheer in the July Cup, can experience a productive afternoon. The former Malton jockey rides the lightly-weighted Mutawathea (2.05), the potentially high-class juvenile Estidhkaar (2.40), the well-bred Lashkaal (4.25), a beaten favourite on her debut, but expected to do better, and the tough-as-teak Mica Mika (5.35), who looked a desperately unlucky loser at Windsor on his latest start.



York today

1.40 Bronze Angel, 2.20 Waila, 2.55 Tahira (NAP), 3.30 G Force, 4.05 Flaming Spear, 4.40 Eagle Rock, 5.15 Bahamian Sunrise.

Newmarket today

2.05 Mutawathea, 2.40 Estidhkaar, 3.15 Horsted Keynes, 3.50 Slade Power, 4.25 Lashkaal, 5.00 Vegas Rebel, 5.35 Mica Mika.

Today's other meetings

Ascot, Chester, Hamilton and Salisbury.

Tomorrow's meetings

Perth, Southwell and Stratford.