WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
(Catterick, 15 July)
Often compromises his chance by starting slowly and he was hardly Lochsong-quick from the stalls again here. Making up his ground steadily, Signore Piccolo came through to lead at the furlong pole and quickly put the race to bed. David O'Meara's four-year-old clocked a smart time and, a winner on softish ground at Ripon in April, he could quite easily build on this success when there's a spot of rain around.
(Sandown, 15 July)
Having justified favouritism with little fuss at Wolverhampton three weeks earlier, Zamperini clearly arrived in peak form for this 10-furlong Class 4 handicap. Trailblazer Harold Lloyd poached an unassailable lead and looked like winning with plenty to spare until Zamperini really knuckled down to his pursuit. Only half a length separated the pair at the line, with eight lengths back to Atab, and Zamperini looks an improving three-year-old.
SEA OF HEAVEN
(Sandown, 15 July)
Sir Mark Prescott's strapping three-year-old made favourite backers sweat when rallying after Mythical Moment had swept to the front over a furlong out. Admittedly, Sea of Heaven had enjoyed the run of the race up front but he is just the type to improve again over a galloping track. His trainer traditionally sends this stamp of stayer to Yarmouth, where the long straight plays to their strengths, and news that the re-turfed seaside track should be ready for business on 30 August will have been music to the ears of many Newmarket handlers.
(Hamilton, 17 July)
Travelled strongly off the pace in this Class 5 1m 1f handicap (quite keen) and briefly threatened to overwhelm Irish raider Lara Carbonara when asked for his effort over a furlong out. Although eventually well held in second, this was an improvement on Lightning Spree's handicap debut at Beverley three weeks earlier and there was a three-length gap back to favourite Diddy Eric. As you might expect from a son of Jeremy, Lightning Spree seemed to handle the deep ground and a mark of 66 opens up options for Kevin Ryan.
(Newmarket, 18 July)
Better known as a useful all-weather performer, Plucky Dip has run to a consistent level of form on turf this summer. John Ryan's four-year-old has twice had a rear view of highly-consistent Scottish Glen and he caught talented Athletic very much on a going day here. Running on stoutly into second, versatile Plucky Dip can be found a handicap before too much longer.
OUR BOY JACK
(Chester, 18 July)
Just pipped for third behind hotpot Racing History after being hampered in his run, Our Boy Jack appeared to stay this longer 10f trip well enough. He was an emphatic winner over seven furlongs at Ayr (soft) last October off a one-pound higher rating, so Richard Fahey has him on a handy mark to score again for the shrewd Middleham Park operation.
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