AS far as numbers of runners are concerned, the totally new experiment by the BHB to stage so-called "Banded Stakes" meetings is proving to be a resounding success.

Virtually all the races are vastly over-subscribed, witness today's fixture at Warwick, where there is a maximum-allowed field in every event. On the downside however, the majority of the horses taking part are low-grade and generally speaking inconsistent, therefore not many of contests tend to be punter-friendly.

But, in common with all other walks of life, there are always exceptions to the rule and in the one-mile World Cargo Banded Stakes a strong case can be made for the Malton-based raider Encounter (12.25).

I believe it is possible to ignore the eight-year-old mare's recent poor run at Brighton last time out because she failed to handle the predominately downhill nature of the undulating Sussex course.

Delving deeper into the record books, Encounter has more-often-than-not been operating in far higher-standard races, taking on superior animals virtually every time she has been on the track over the past couple of seasons.

Take for instance her victory in a 0-65 handicap at Redcar in 2003, an event in which the James Hetherton-trained eight-year-old edged out a big bunch of much better opponents than she faces now.

Assiduous followers of form will quickly recognise that if Encounter reproduces anything like her normal level of ability, she will surely take all of the beating in a race which, on paper at least, she is undoubtedly capable of winning with something to spare.

l The Cornwallis Stakes will be run at Newmarket next Saturday following the abandonment of today's Salisbury meeting.

The Group Three contest is usually run at Ascot, but the Berkshire track is currently closed for a massive redevelopment, which prompted the switch to Salisbury.

Heavy rain claimed the meeting yesterday, but the five-furlong contest has been saved and will be run as the first race at 1.05pm on Champions' Day next weekend.

Get more on racing at our Racing North site.