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.
AUSSIE WIND CONTINUES TO BLOW HOT ON GALLOPING ALL-WEATHER TRACKS
(Chelmsford City, 8 August)
Won two of his three starts, twice beating Ibn Al Emarat, so it will be interesting to see how that particular formline works out.
Aussie Wind appears a stout stayer, taking up the running quite early in this mile novice stakes and keeping on strongly when challenged.
Hugo Palmer’s colt also scored at Newcastle, so is clearly at home on these galloping all-weather tracks.
(Newmarket, 12 August)
On a drying day there remained just enough juice in the ground for Accession to put his best foot forward.
There was plenty to admire about the way he gathered in strong-travelling War Party in this 7f handicap, picking off the leader with some aplomb.
Charlie Fellowes does really well with these older handicappers and Accession ran an excellent race off a 4lb higher mark in a Listed event at Newbury last September when third to Acclaim.
Soft ground is a prerequisite and the seven-year-old should encounter plenty of that in the autumn.
(Ascot, 12 August)
Finished fourth in a blanket finish for the places behind comfortable Shergar Cup Challenge winner Great Hall but the suspicion remains that Niblawi would have gone close under a more assertive ride.
Top Canadian rider Emma Jayne Wilson has enjoyed some big days at this international jamboree in the past and she was probably under instructions to tuck in from her very wide draw.
As it transpired, Niblawi flew the gates and she may have been better employed letting her mount stride forward, rather than taking a pull and dropping into the last pair.
Consequently, Neil Mulholland’s gelding, a good second to Godolphin’s unexposed Royal Associate over course and distance a fortnight earlier, had too much ground to make up in the straight, especially as Niblawi is more of a grinder than a ‘quickener’.
(Newmarket, 12 August)
Bidding for a hat-trick under a 6lb penalty for his comfortable Bath three days earlier but the cards didn’t fall kindly in a messy affair.
Josephine Gordon found herself trapped behind a couple of weakening rivals over two out and was forced to switch wide on Anythingtoday.
Hugo Palmer’s three-year-old doesn’t possess an instant change of gear and was done no favours when the errant Thundering Blue gave him a bump 100 yards from home.
He wouldn’t have won anyway, but this was another sound effort from Anythingtoday during a busy summer spell.
(Haydock, 12 August)
Megan Nicholls looked to have ridden a textbook race on her father’s dual-purpose gelding, hitting the front a furlong out before being mugged on the line by the equally well ridden Azari.
Zubayr, beaten on the nod by Chesterfield in the Scottish Champion Hurdle, scored on the all-weather at Kempton before being thumped seven lengths by Gibbs Hill on a return visit to that track.
This performance could be viewed as a timely boost to the prospects of Gibbs Hill in the Ebor Handicap.
(Ayr, 14 August)
Iain Jardine’s filly utterly destroyed an admittedly moderate bunch in this Class 6 handicap and even though connections will be fearing severe retribution from the assessor, there is probably more improvement to come.
Joe Fanning was always cantering over his rivals and Sepal pulled clear effortlessly to score by a heavily eased down six lengths.
The four-year-old, formerly with Charlie Hills, clearly handled the testing conditions and her trainer has the happy knack of improving these types from a lowly starting point.