Moore finally returns but Hughes is still the main threat to Hanagan

A pleasant destination on any pretext, Salisbury today compounds its usual charms with some interesting sport and the first public sighting of the champion jockey in over three weeks.

Ryan Moore was reluctant to acknowledge as much himself, when invited to do so last week, but he surely lost any chance of retaining his title when falling from Rocket Rob at Windsor on 9 August. A swollen wrist proved slow to heal, prompting a series of postponements for his return. In the meantime Paul Hanagan has extended his advantage over Moore to 33. With the summer grind of double shifts now over – albeit there will still be some floodlit evening meetings on the all-weather – Moore has too much ground to retrieve, even if his principal patron, Sir Michael Stoute, happens to end the season in rather more prolific form.

With a deficit of 16, going to Kempton last night, Richard Hughes remains a more feasible threat to Hanagan, albeit the disappointing performances of several high-profile mounts – notably, in consecutive Group One tests abroad, by Strong Suit, Libranno and Memory – have in turn heightened concerns about the momentum of his own stable. When Memory failed to meet expectations at the Curragh on Sunday, Richard Hannon Jr did grant that "a few of ours have been running like that recently". The Hannon stable admittedly operates on such an industrial scale that it is impossible for every single horse in their care to be in the pink of health. And its division between two yards, separated by four miles of Wiltshire countryside, should insulate at least half the horses against any low-grade infection.

The Hannons have a championship quest of their own, of course, and will be hoping to erode Stoute's slender advantage – barely £50,000 – at Salisbury today. Certainly their prolific history here will prompt many locals to view their fortunes as instructive of their overall form, with two months still to go.

The Hannons run two fillies, for instance, in the EBF Dick Poole Stakes, a £30,000 listed race. (Ralph Beckett, who saddles Ishbelle, yesterday suggested that this field has more depth than the one that contested the Lowther Stakes, at York.) Hughes rides Sweet Cecily, second in a similar race at Newbury last time, leaving Moore to pick up the mount on Tale Untold, impressive when odds-on for her debut at Kempton earlier in the summer.

Not that the championship is their principal priority just now, with Hannon Jr getting married on Saturday. There had been talk of Hughes riding Paco Boy in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday, before flying south to perform his duties as brother-in-law and usher. Yesterday, however, Hannon Sr said that Paco Boy now "looks certain" to wait for the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on Sunday.

Moore's comeback, incidentally, is by royal appointment. He wears the Queen's silks on Caraboss, a filly by Cape Cross and said to be among the more gifted of Stoute's juveniles.

There has never been any suggestion that Am I Blue has any particular ability, but all that changed at Hereford yesterday when she was backed from 25-1 to 5-1 before winning by 19 lengths. What's more, she was ridden by Richard Johnson, a late replacement for an unwell conditional jockey, Dean Coleman. Am I Blue had been stone last on her previous start, but while her trainer could not account for the gamble, she could the improvement in form. "She's had a bad shoulder so we had that sorted," Delyth Thomas said. "She just hasn't been travelling but we changed the tactics today. Richard thought she could be made more use of, and it's worked." The stewards accepted these explanations.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Baralaka (4.35 Epsom) Last chance to run in 0-75 company, and instructive that he is turned out under a penalty for his first start in handicaps, having no more than run to his rating when cutting down an exposed rival on his first start over this trip.

Next best

Sarasota Sunshine (4.25 Salisbury) Given the slip in a tactical race at Ascot last time, but that may have come too soon after her previous win. Looked well ahead of her mark at Newbury, idling in front.

One to watch

Carrignavar (R M Beckett) Showed promise in debut at Ffos Las, losing ground at the start but retrieving stylishly for third.

Where the money's going

Rip Van Winkle is 4-6 from evens with Ladbrokes for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Chemistry Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

English Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

English Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: [ Megan Smith 22/09/2014 17:00:...

Foundation and KS1 Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Foundation and Key Stage 1...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments