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RP Ratings: Salut Saint Cloud well treated on his way up through the ranks.

Byline: Steve Mason

ON a low-key Saturday, Lingfield's Bet With Ladbrokes On 0800 524524 Handicap Hurdle (1.50) looks by some way the most competitive race of the day, and while a good case can be made for a few of these, the Gary Mooretrained Salut Saint Cloud is the one that catches the eye.

A leading juvenile hurdler last season, he earned his best figure when running out a comfortable winner of the Grade 2 Summit Junior Hurdle at this track, and although he failed to win again, he came close to matching that performance when finishing a staying-on third behind the subsequent Triumph Hurdle third Akilak at Cheltenham in January.

P reviously successful at two miles on the level, he gave the impression that a step up in distance would not go amiss that day and, although finishing down the field, he ran well enough when stepped up to two miles five furlongs at Cheltenham in November to suggest that today's trip could be ideal.

His latest staying-on fifth to the potentially smart Acambo in a very competitive handicap back over the minimum trip at Windsor this month suggested he was about to peak and he looks the best treated of the five four-year-olds in the race. Given the relative strength of their juvenile form, it is surprising that the Nicky Henderson-trained P apini has been allocated the same official mark, and although runners from the stable can never be ruled out, he will need to have improved a fair bit since last season if he is to make a winning reappearance off what looks a stiffish mark of 125.

P robably of more interest is Dom d'Orgeval, who has performed with credit on all three starts this season and should appreciate the step back up in distance after finishing strongly from a long way back at Cheltenham last time.

Course-and-distance winner Magot de Grugy snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when going for a four-timer at Exeter this month, but again travelled like a horse with a bit more to offer and is another to consider.

solid chanceSalut Saint Cloud 1.50 LingfieldnapPrime Contender 12.20 Lingfield Created a very favourable impression when comfortably accounting for subsequent easy Fakenham winner Take A Mile in a fair time at Warwick this month. Rates the clear form pick.

horses for coursesYoung Lorcan 1.10 Uttoxeter Got too far out of his ground when second behind a rejuvenated winner over track and trip last time, but he remains well handicapped and already has three heavy/soft ground course wins to his name and that counts for a lot at this track.

improverThe Hairy Lemon 3.35 Warwick Backed as if defeat were out of the question when making a winning debut for the Alan King stable at Towcester in October. That represented much-improved form and softer ground should not pose a problem for a horse who could still be a step or two ahead of the handicapper.


Salut Saint Cloud: today's step up in distance looks ideal
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2005
Previous Article:RP Ratings: Clock suggests Moon will eclipse rivals; Topspeed.
Next Article:View from the training centres: West Country.

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