WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every Tuesday form expert Alan Thomson pinpoints horses primed to strike in the next few weeks, if not days. Remember, you can add Alan's weekly updates to your ATR Tracker.
HANDICAPPER HASN'T YET CAUGHT HAGGAS'S FASTNET TEMPEST
(Yarmouth, 14 September)
Didn’t create much of an impression when turned over in a Hamilton maiden on his seasonal bow back in May, but Fastnet Tempest has improved steadily in each of his subsequent four runs.
Given an astute ride by Frankie Dettori in this mile handicap, Fastnet Tempest only edged home by a neck from Misty Lord but he looks the type that just does enough.
Consequently, the handicapper hasn’t taken a vice-like grip on him just yet and William Haggas could squeeze another success out of his three-year-old before season’s end.
(Pontefract, 15 September)
Made no show behind brave frontrunner Mysterial, staying on into sixth from a hopeless position.
El Beau travelled well enough in rear but his jockey found himself trapped behind a couple of weakening rivals turning in and it was curtains thereafter.
El Beau bounced back to peak form at Hamilton last month and reappeared quickly at York under a 6lb penalty to run third.
There is good reason to believe John Quinn’s five-year-old remains in top order.
(Ayr, 15 September)
Attracted bundles of cash before this modest 1m 5f handicap and Karl Burke’s three-year-old landed a nice touch.
Sporty Yankee was clearly expected to enjoy this much softer ground on the west coast of Scotland and although looking something of an awkward ride when put under pressure, he showed a potent turn of foot.
He is worth following when the mud is flying.
(Ayr, 16 September)
Powerful owners Paul and Clare Rooney enjoyed success at Ayr over the three days but Saint Equiano just missed out.
The colt beat only one home on his debut at Carlisle in June but something was clearly amiss that day as he had been backed into joint favouritism.
Given 86 days to recover by Keith Dalgleish, Saint Equiano was sent off a 20-1 chance for this seven-furlong maiden but gave Andrew Balding’s well-supported Naval Warfare a threatening shot across the bow as he closed down the winner on the run to the line.
(Ayr, 16 September)
Michael Dods frustratingly hit the crossbar all week but Grinty served notice that he can win races when awarded a mark by the assessor.
The colt, runner-up to useful Parnassian on his second start over six furlongs at Carlisle last month, couldn’t get to grips with Kitten’s Johnstown and Trading Point going up in trip but that pair look decent types.
(Newbury, 17 September)
His debut effort at Ascot (eighth) a fortnight earlier wasn’t devoid of promise and Koeman stepped up again in this seven-furlong maiden.
George Baker always had him in the firing line and although left for dead when the principals accelerated, Koeman stayed on doggedly for fourth.
Winner Swiss Storm, another successful son of Frankel, could prove a cut above and Mick Channon’s Koeman looks the type to do well in handicaps next season.
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