Horses To Follow » Salut Flo

Salut Flo

Salut Flo was well touted and well backed on his first run for 20 months in the Spinal Research Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, he was still in with a chance when making a very bad mistake at the third from home, after which he was allowed to come home in his own time, and he was well touted and strongly backed for last week’s Byrne Group Plate the week before and all through Cheltenham.

As was the case with a lot of the David Pipe horses during the week, especially those ridden by Tom Scudamore, he was given an aggressive ride from the front. He got into a great rhythm, he jumped really well except for a mistake at the fourth from home, from which he did well to recover so quickly and maintain his gallop. He had the field well strung out as they started down the hill and, while Divers and Finger Onthe Pulse closed to within three lengths turning into the home straight, that was as close as they could get as Salut Flo kicked again approaching the second last fence, jumped the last two fences well, and came home six lengths clear of The Cockney Mackem, who stayed on into second, with a further four and a half lengths back to Glam Gerry, who just got up for third ahead of Divers.

Salut Flo clocked a time that was less than two seconds slower than that recorded by Riverside Theatre in a strongly-run Ryanair Chase over the same course and distance earlier on the card, and he may well have been able to go faster had he been hard pressed up the hill. An 11lb rise to a mark of 148 does not over-estimate Salut Flo after this win, he is still just seven, this was only his seventh chase start, and his superiority may have been even greater if he had been given a slightly less aggressive ride. Given how hard he went here and how well he stayed up the hill, three miles should be well within his range, especially on a flatter track (he was really impressive in winning over two miles and three furlongs at Doncaster on his first run in Britain two years ago). It remains to be seen what the plan is for him for the rest of this season, he was probably trained to the minute for this, but he would have to command significant respect wherever he runs now. After Great Endeavour had won this same race two years ago for the Pipes, they put him away for the Paddy Power Gold Cup back at Cheltenham in November, and that may well be what they do with Salut Flo now.

15th March 2012