In the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap (1.30) at Southwell on Tuesday, Black Salt steps back up into 0-80 company, but won a 0-65 affair over course and distance two starts ago, on his Fibresand debut, so convincingly that he may be capable of defying a 6lb rise in the weights even in this higher grade. David Barron’s four-year-old has since run respectably in defeat, off today’s revised mark, when third of 12, beaten 2½ lengths, behind Burtonwood in another 0-65 on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, but it is his previous Fibresand form that makes him of particular interest.
On his only previous visit to Southwell, off a handicap mark of 64, he stayed on strongly to beat the ill-fated Huntsman Close by 4½ lengths, with subsequent winner Declamation a further 4 lengths back in third and Roaring Rory, who also won next time, a neck behind in fourth. Consequently, that form looks a good deal stronger than it did at the time and with Robert Winston – who has a highly respectable 13-67 (19%) strike rate for the yard over the years – taking the ride, another forward showing looks on the cards.
Black Salt has been tried over 7 furlongs, and a mile, in the past, but on recent evidence sprinting looks his game and he might just become a regular visitor to the winners’ enclosure at the much-maligned Nottinghamshire track if his promising opening effort is anything to go by. As ever, only time will tell.
Selection: Southwell 1.30 Black Salt to win 4/1