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.
MASTERPLAN ATR Tracker
(Newbury, 26 November)
Up 9lb for his recent Ascot success in a 15-runner field of novice handicappers, Masterplan had the field well strung out before progressive Unowhatimeanharry loomed up two out. Masterplan was soon running on empty, fading into third, but Charlie Longsdon will be rubbing his hands at the prospect of his Irish point winner going over fences as Masterplan’s career progresses.
LUIS VAZ DE TORRES ATR Tracker
(Chelmsford, 26 November)
Seems best on the all-weather, having scored on his debut at Wolverhampton in December (66-1) and running well at Chelmsford on a previous visit in January. Richard Fahey’s three-year-old can go a fair clip but was softened up in the lead by free-wheeling Guishan, allowing Hoofalong to pounce for a cosy success. Luis Vaz de Torres could never get competitive at Southwell on his previous outing, so Polytrack/Tapeta appears his preferred surface.
SYKES ATR Tracker
(Newbury, 27 November)
A three-time winner over hurdles, Sykes found this step up in class, coupled with a 7lb rise for a Chepstow success 23 days earlier, beyond him. Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old was given quite a bit to do but made up his ground quickly in the straight to look a threat two out. Those exertions took their toll as Missed Approach kicked clear again over the last flight. Sykes didn’t negotiate the last two flights fluently and this was a solid effort in defeat.
COLE HARDEN ATR Tracker
(Newbury, 28 November)
The Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner was having his first run since a breathing procedure in the summer and very testing ground made life difficult. The six-year-old cut out the running as usual but the writing was on the wall turning for home. Cole Harden was leaden-footed as Deputy Dan and winner Thistlecrack swept past but rallied to finish third. Cole Harden was beaten seven lengths by Medinas in this event 12 months ago and he’ll be a different proposition back on the better ground he encountered at Cheltenham in March.
KAFELLA ATR Tracker
(Doncaster, 28 November)
With the Dan Skelton yard in cracking form it was no surprise to see Kafella installed a short-price favourite for the ‘Junior’ bumper but his backers were left ruing his inexperience. Kafella was a bit tight for room early in the straight but continually hung right when switched to the stands’ side. The gelding threw down a challenge to Jam Session and Captain Sam throughout the final two furlongs, going down by under a length on this encouraging debut.
GOOD VIBRATION ATR Tracker
(Newcastle, 28 November)
Having his second fairly quick run for Sue Smith, this ex-Irish point winner was no match for impressive Baby Back when headed early in the straight but stuck on gamely for second spot. The horse Good Vibration beat in his point, Rolling Dylan, has since joined Philip Hobbs so there is probably better to come.
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