Our racing expert marks your card for this afternoon's Flat action at Salisbury.
While Richard Hannon rates URBAN ICON, he has highly but has resisted the urge to run him at Royal Ascot as he feels that will come too soon in the career of this more long term prospect. His patient approach could pay dividends when the the son of Cityscape runs in the opening 6f novice auction stakes at the Wiltshire venue, in which he carries a penalty for his clearcut success at Windsor on his racecourse debut. That makes life tougher of course but he’s an above average sort and could have too much toe for the other winner in the race and main market rival, Certain Lad, who is bred to be suited by further. His high draw in stall 14 might not be ideal either, whereas the selection has the plum draw in stall one against the far rail.
Marcus Tregoning saddled a double at the weekend and his POWER OF DARKNESS is fancied to keep the good run going in the 6f213y novice stakes confined to horses with no more than four Flat runs. The son of Power has only been seen out twice, whereas likely favourite Kawasir is more experienced having had four outings and been placed on each occasion. However, all those have come on the all-weather, leaving him with something to prove on turf, and besides the selection’s third at Newmarket last August looks a stronger piece of form. Both the second and fourth have won since, the latter twice to earn a rating of 103, while the winner Fortune’s Pearl went on to finish fifth in a Group 3 before chasing home Mildenberger in a Listed race on his reappearance. Providing he’s reasonably straight on his return to action, he is going to be hard to beat under Hayley Turner, who booted home a 5/2 winner for the stable on Sunday.
The step up to 1m4f could be just what Andrew Balding’s KING LUD needs to shed his maiden tag after three highly creditable placed efforts over shorter this season, including a fourth in the Wood Ditton on his racecourse debut at the Craven meeting. His two efforts since have been over 1m2f and the latest of those came at this track, when finishing third behind a couple of well regarded types, despite pulling a little too hard for his own good in the early stages. That qualified him for a mark of 82 and it is perhaps significant that his trainer has resisted an opportunity to pitch him into handicap company later this week to run in this maiden instead. With nothing else in the field having comparable form and with the longer trip sure to suit, it could prove to be a smart move.
All odds were correct at time of posting.