A veteran of the Irish racing sprint scene for the past three seasons, IN SALUTEM (best price 13-2) gets the chance to show his talents in front of a UK audience for the first time in the opener on Shergar Cup day. A thoroughly admirable and consistent type, as a result, his handicap mark has been on the steady increase in recent times but he still keeps running to a very high standard despite the lack of slack from the handicapper. His latest performance when fourth in the super-competitive Scurry Sprint at the Curragh was yet another notable notch on his bedpost, and he looks sure to give another solid account with plenty seemingly in his favour.
On the early evidence, Hugo Palmer looks to have some nice two-year-olds in his care this season (Afandam, Best Of Days and Evergate the picks so far), and in the shape of MAJORIS (NAP) (best price 11-10), the Newmarket handler could well have another to add to that list. Too green to do himself justice on debut at Haydock, the son of Frankel was a totally different proposition next time out at Brighton when he came from some way off the pace to win in the style of a thoroughly progressive juvenile. Although the race at the seaside venue may have been the strongest in the world, the manner in which he closed the deal late on suggested he could be a good bit better than his opening mark of just 76 and that theory is put to the test as he tackles nursery company for the first time at a track that should play into his strengths.
WILAMINA (best price 9-2) just came up short when she was raised into pattern company for the first time at Sandown last time out, but given that the ground may not been entirely ideal, she ran perfectly well in the circumstances and is worth another chance to confirm her overall promising profile. A smooth winner of a hot maiden in a fast time previously, Martyn Meade’s charge went to the Esher venue full of hope that she could make her mark in listed company and she did just that with a creditable second spot finish behind the more experienced Light Up Our World, who benefitted from being in a much better track position throughout. Hopefully, the daughter of Zoffany will be closer to the early pace this time around from her favourable inside draw and with the ground likely to ride on the quick side, she looks more than capable of making her presence felt.
SNOANO (best price 14-1) has run with great credit since landing a lady-rider event at York four starts ago and he can resume winning ways running over his optimum trip against slightly less taxing opposition. A staying-on sixth a red-hot handicap at Goodwood last time out, he did well to finish as close as he did considering where he was positioned at the top of the hill at the Sussex venue and that was off the back of two creditable performances in similarly tough contests over 1m 4f. The last time Mick Easterby’s charge ran at today’s track, he looked all over the winner of the Old Newton Cup until his stamina ran out inside the final furlong so the combination of a drop back down in distance and returning to the scene of that fine effort back in June, all points to the son of Nayef keeping his consistent run of form going in the right direction.
HERON HEIGHTS (best price 4-1) has the potential to be a proper money-spinner in this summer jumping period and he’s taken to continue his fine run of form while in his current mood. A convincing and runaway winner of a beginners chase over tonight’s C&D on chase debut, Henry De Bromhead’s charge failed to run up to the same level back at the same track next time, but the combination of being ridden to aggressively and a different standard of opponent just caught him out. Back to a more conservative ride last time out at Limerick, the son of Heron Island was a much more comfortable-looking horse in bounding to victory over several useful sorts and returning to the scene of a track that is becoming familiar surroundings, the progressive seven-year-old looks booked for another positive display.