JOSEPH HENRY (2.05) has the class to maintain his 100 per cent record by taking the six-furlong Listed Rockingham Stakes at York's final Flat fixture of the season.

Mark Johnston's colt started the year with a bang by romping to successive victories at Musselburgh and Nottingham, but it wasn't all a bed of roses, because after injuring himself just prior to his next intended race at Beverley, Joseph Henry has spent the last five months on the sidelines.

Given that connections originally intended to run the two-year-old at Royal Ascot, plus the fact he clocked a very fast time at Nottingham, there can be no doubt he is a very highly-regarded individual, capable of lifting today's prestigious prize.

"He's been working quite nicely, including his latest gallop with Sharmadal, which was a tall order. However, he went well enough to re-appear at Listed level," said Johnston.

It is, of course, true to say that spins on the home gallops do not always transfer into actual racecourse form, but considering Shamardal is the ante-post favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, it is not hard to draw positive conclusions from the available evidence.

On a point of handicapping, there's no denying that Master Robbie (3.05) has an excellent chance in the Four High Petergate Hotel & Sawfish Software Stakes.

Almost 12 months ago to the day, Master Robbie won a similar event over track and trip off a mark of 90. Having not won since, Mick Channon's gelding has now slipped to a 6lb lower mark. That is not the end of the good news, seeing as Master Robbie shaped as if returning to his best when fourth at Newbury last time out.

Although the ultra-competitive £30,000 Coral Sprint Trophy looks be to a race run strictly for the benefit of the bookmakers, it might still be an opportunity to strike a blow against the layers by backing Smart Hostess (3.40).

John Quinn's lightning-fast mare won three times in October 2003, suggesting that the autumn is very much her favourite time of the year. Add this to a decent performance last time, and it would appear Smart Hostess is ready to serve it up to her rivals.

Easy ground at Hexham has attracted a fair few runners for their six-race card, including Palisander (4.10), fancied to make in two wins within the space of six days by snapping up the John Bryson Memorial Chase.

Richard Ford's representative ended a frustrating sequence of placed efforts when scoring at Uttoxeter on Sunday with the capable conditional jockey Caroline Hurley in the saddle.

Palisander responds to Hurley's quiet style of riding, which combined with her whopping 10lb allowance is another factor very much in the combination's favour.

In the earlier Mares' Only Novices' Hurdle, it will be a major upset if Marsh Run (3.00) does not figure in the finish.

Marsh Run won three bumper events last term, rounding off a money-spinning campaign with a sensational 66-1 triumph in valuable contest at Sandown in March, repelling challenges from of a whole host of top southern horses.

Bangor have done a great job in rustling up £20,000 for the totesport Handicap Chase, a three-mile affair in which Undeniable (3.20) may well live up to his name.

Sue Smith's classy six-year-old remains firmly on the upgrade, steadily developing into a smart staying chaser with the potential to make up into a genuine Grand National candidate.

* Go Tech supplied followers of Janus (Colin Woods) with a sparkling 4-1 winning nap selection at York yesterday.

* Beef Or Salmon is a short-priced favourite to take the Anglo Irish Bank Munster National at Limerick tomorrow.

Michael Hourigan's charge is the 11-10 market leader with Paddy Power to come out on top in the race despite having to give away a minimum of 23lb to his eight rivals.

The eight-year-old will be having his first start since claiming the Heineken Gold Cup at Punchestown in April and he is already the general 10-1 second favourite for next year's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Get more on racing at our Racing North site.