Turf Talk: Heading for Salisbury with Gusto

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RACING is still revving up its build up towards Champions Day and the meeting probably cannot come soon enough for the thriving yard of Richard Hannon and stable jockey and son in law, Richard Hughes.

After having their trademark flying start to the season, with horses such as Dick Turpin, Canford Cliffs and Harbour Watch delighting connections, they have come into their own recently with their two year olds taking some of the top sales and auction races. They aim to continue their great form at Salisbury on Wednesday, with big chances on an eight race card, the highlight being a Class Two conditions race with some smart looking two year olds.

The conditions race looks a competitive affair, with Godolphin represented by Ihsas, an unbeaten son of Rahy. Good horses from the Ed McMahon, Roger Charlton and Mick Channon yards also compete, but the best bet looks to be to side with in-form with GUSTO turning out for Hannon/Hughes. After winning a maiden at the second attempt, the Oasis Dream colt ran a good fourth in a listed race at York behind My Propellor and then didn’t like the ground when running on soft ground at Ripon. Dropped down in class and on good ground should mean the highest rated horse in the race can carry on the fine form for his team.

They look to have another good chance in the 3.00 with AVON RIVER, who looks to build on his recent victory in claiming company, and appears weighted to complete a quick fire double. He won with ease over 10 furlongs last time out at Folkestone and heads to Salisbury in good heart. On ratings, he has a minimum of three pound on the entire field and, with Royal Opera coming out and winning next time out, the form couldn’t be further franked.

We shall stick with the Richard Hughes and the Richard Hannon stable for the 2.30, a Class 3 Novice Stakes with connections having the likely favourite, and once more, the top rated two year old in the race. LORD OF THE SHADOWS is yet to finish any worse than fourth out of his six career starts, and has the best form in the race.

As well as a maiden win, the son of Kyllachy has achieved some notable performances, including losing by a narrow head in a Goodwood handicap and by a neck in a Salisbury listed race. He is dropped back to seven furlongs, which should suit given his runs over a mile in his last two races, tiring and showing the effects in the latter stages. Frog Hollow for the Ralph Beckett yard and Waseem Faris and Mr Spiggot for Mick Channon look to be the main dangers, but with the Hannon horse having a 12lb pull at the weights, he should win, and win well.

Ed McMahon trained horses often come on for their first runs, which is a trend that should seemingly bode well for IRON RANGE, who is sent into a handicap after winning a decent Ayr maiden over six furlongs on good ground. The second and third have come out and done well, with several placed efforts in handicaps, as well as the second and the fifth both coming out and winning since. It is a little worrying that he has yet to be seen since his maiden win over a year ago but, providing he is race fit, he should go very close.

3.00 Salisbury - Avon River (Nap)

3.35 Salisbury - Gusto

2.30 Salisbury - Lord of the Shadows

4.10 Salisbury - Iron Range