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.
FLETCHERS FLYER CAN PLUNDER ANOTHER FESTIVAL HANDICAP FOR HARRY FRY
(Newcastle, 17 February)
Alan Swinbank is a past master at improving these strapping ex-bumper types and although Codeshare will never emulate the mighty Collier Hill in that department, he is going the right way.
The five-year-old had looked somewhat paceless on two previous visits to Gosforth Park but the result was never in doubt here after Codeshare strolled to the front two out.
This wasn’t a strong maiden by any means, but the gelding should improve again when sent handicapping.
(Newcastle, 17 February)
Has proved an expensive beaten favourite on her last two outings at Newcastle and Kirsten Rausing’s filly can run a bit in snatches.
Mariee lost her prominent pitch before the home turn and was in a poor tactical position turning for home in a steadily-run affair.
She stayed on into second spot behind Marco Botti’s improving filly Vogueatti and although Mariee must be a source of frustration to trainer Mark Johnston, she is capable of picking up a race or two.
(Ascot, 18 February)
Looked sharper for his comeback effort after 231 days off when weakening into seventh spot behind Regal Encore in the Silver Cup Chase in December and for much of the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase looked the most likely winner.
However, Fletchers Flyer eventually paid the price for matching strides from a long way out with super-game Flintham, fading between the last two fences as winner Bigbadjohn moved into contention.
Fletchers Flyer landed a competitive 3m 6f handicap at Punchestown last season and Harry Fry will be planning a similar spring offensive.
(Haydock, 18 February)
Faced a stiff task conceding weight all round in the Grade 2 Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle and last year’s Betfair Hurdle winner duly found the task beyond him as Zarkandar made full use of the 8lb concession.
Agrapart raced with his usual enthusiasm out in front but always looked a sitting duck.
Still only a six-year-old, Agrapart has an entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle and he won’t be disgraced at big odds if reproducing his Relkeel Hurdle form (only Cheltenham run) when giving previous World Hurdle winner Cole Harden 4lb and a seven-length beating.
Looking further ahead, he looks the type to do well when sent down the novice chase route, following in the hoofprints of Nick Williams’s useful stablemate Tea For Two.
(Kempton, 18 February)
Up 8lb for his comfortable Southwell success the previous week and made a bold attempt to follow up before being collared close home by Lord Cooper and Goodwood Crusader.
Tranquil Daze was given a positive ride by 3lb claimer Kieran Shoemark and John Fretwell’s three-year-old will be of interest when returned to the Fibresand.
(Carlisle, 20 February)
Things haven’t gone to plan for Kap Jazz since he picked up a novices’ handicap hurdle at Wincanton in December, 2015.
The seven-year-old was off the track for 259 days after being pulled up at Exeter last March and unluckily slithered on landing three out on his comeback at Lingfield in the race won by useful Royal Vacation.
Venetia Williams’s patience was rewarded here with a no-nonsense success from foot-perfect Kap Jazz and it is onwards and upwards in handicap chases.
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