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Shankly wins one-mile juvenile race at Salisbury
ON a programme lavishly designed for young fillies, it was ironically a colt who produced the most compelling performance at Salisbury on Thursday.
A scorching late summer's afternoon witnessed the debut of an equally warm prospect for next year's major classic when Shankly overcame understandable greenness to win the one mile juvenile race.
It was a race of contrasting fortunes with first the odds-on favourite Sebastian Beach and then Faintly looking in command until Shankly came with an irresistible run on the outside to win impressively and underline the potential he has shown at home.
However, trainer Clive Cox intends to pursue a low profile with the Derby entrant, whose dam won a Lingfield Oaks trial.
“He is a seriously good horse with a bright future,” he declared.
“Don't expect to see much more of him this year. We have taken a step in the right direction. He won't fly high, we'll take little steps.”
Lustrous's pedigree hinted she will also be a better horse in 2014 but she was still forward enough to take the second division of the seven furlong maiden fillies race to deliver Richard Hughes a record breaking seasonal best of 16 winners at the course.
It also enabled trainer Richard Hannon to equal his best ever seasonal score at the venue by posting his 20th success, although Lustrous was almost withdrawn with the champion jockey reporting part of the track resembled a road.
“But she coped well with it,” said Hannon, confirming that Toronado would return to action in the Queen Elizabeth 2 Stakes at Ascot and 1,000 Guineas heroine Sky Lantern would target the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
Lady Cecil, pictured above, widow of the late Sir Henry, was a surprise visitor to the course to saddle Joyeuse, who has clearly inherited some of the ability of her illustrious half-brother Frankel.
The filly had not run since Royal Ascot as she had simply grown and grown, explained Lord Teddy Grimthorpe, racing managing to winning owner Khalid Abdullah.
“We have to be very pleased with her,”
he said, observing she was a little ring rusty as she battled to hold the determined challenge of Dorothy B.
“She probably needed it but travelled well in the race and lengthened when she needed to,” he added.
“There are plenty of options where to go next. It's simply a question of which one.
Obviously the Cheveley Park would be a possibility if we stayed at six, but if we raced her over seven, then it could be the Rockfel but I doubt the Fillies Mile.”
Unlike many of the runners, Viking Spirit can never have conditions too hard and finally ended a year-long in a gritty style that Persian Punch, after whom the 14 furlong test was named, would have solidly approved.
Trainer Harry Dunlop said: “He loves this going and that's why we came here. The pace was fast and that's the way the way he likes it. He won the Shergar Cup like this, he simply grinds it out. Hopefully we can build on this.”