Horses To Follow » Saludos


The Jessica Harrington-trained Saludos put up a nice performance to land an interesting four-runner two-mile listed novices’ hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday. Sent to the front from flagfall by Robert Power, he immediately settled into a nice tempo, setting a good even pace and jumping well as his three rivals raced in a small bunch behind him. Asigh Pearl ranged up on his outside on the approach to the last flight before they turned out of the back straight, but Power just gave Saludos a squeeze and he raised his game to go on again, with the help of the inside berth. Asigh Pearl remained a persistent challenger, and the injection of pace that that rival instigated saw the front pair pull clear of Saludos’s better-fancied stable companion Coole River. Asigh Pearl looked to be travelling slightly better rounding the home turn, but Saludos kicked on again on the approach to the last, jumped that flight adequately and kept on well all the way to the line.

Coole River closed the front pair down on the run-in, and actually got to within a half a length of Asigh Pearl at the line, but it is difficult to argue that the winner was not the best horse in the race on the day in the conditions. It may have been that they went for home from too far out, a move that saw them finish very tired, but there was still a lot to like about the manner in which Saludos stuck to his task all the way to the line. He is only five, like his two main rivals here, and this was just his fifth ever race, his second of the season. On his debut this term, he surprised many by running out an impressive winner of his maiden hurdle on heavy ground over two miles at Fairyhouse in November when he again made all the running under Robert Power. Front-running tactics obviously suit, and Power gets on well with him. He appears to have the right attitude, an attitude that should ensure that he will progress again from this run, and there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree, so he should get further in time. Interestingly, his rider said afterwards that he would be even better on a left-handed track. He is entitled to step up in grade again now, and he is interesting.

6th December 2009