Nap Hand gives Alan “a very pleasant surprise” at Salisbury

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This has been a splendid week for Barbury, with our last three runners all winning on the Flat, including, to our surprise, a first-time two-year-old in Nap Hand.

Ironically, Nap Hand was winning at Salisbury, scene of Alan’s very first two-year-old winner back in 2002 in Salsalino, who went on to finish second in Royal Ascot’s King George V Handicap the following year.

Alan recalled:”I’ll never forget it as Oasis Dream, who started favourite, was back in fifth place in that race, and he bounced back to win the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and the following summer laid his claim to be champion sprinter when winning both the July Cup and the Nunthorpe.”

That proved to be Salsalino’s only success on the Flat, though he did win over hurdles at Exeter and was also runner-up on a couple of other occasions.

However, Alan conceded that he did not expect Nap Hand to win at Salisbury. “I thought he’d finish last of four as the grass has been so firm that our debutants have been restricted to working on the all-weather gallop and have been needing it and running green.

“If one of my two-year-olds wins first time out they usually prove to be quite good, like Asymmetric, who made a winning debut at Goodwood last year, went back there for the Glorious meeting and won the Richmond Stakes  and was then third in the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville.”

Incidentally, Asymmetric, who was exported to America through the winter, had his first run for Wes Ward at Belmont last month and showed blistering early speed, only just being worn down in the last 100 yards.