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.
SOLO HUNTER ATR Tracker
(Wolverhampton, 26 August)
This was the David Evans-trained three-year-old's 21st start, but only his second on a synthetic surface, and he adapted well to the Tapeta track. Solo Hunter was always in the van and having briefly struck the front over a furlong out, he was mowed down by favourite Dutch Rifle close home. Solo Hunter has been kept busy (third run inside three weeks) but is at the top of his game.
MAN OF HARLECH ATR Tracker
(Sandown, 29 August)
Returning from a midsummer break, Andrew Balding's three-year-old, a real soft ground specialist, threatened as the likely winner when produced at the two-furlong pole. However, his finishing effort was a bit laboured and he could stay on only at the one pace in third. Man Of Harlech (a previous Eyecatcher) may just have needed this outing but, in any case, he ran into a most progressive handicapper in winner Basem.
LANDWADE LAD ATR Tracker
(Thirsk, 29 August)
Had appeared quietly progressive in both maiden starts for James Fanshawe and duly stepped up again here. Strong-travelling Landwade Lad struck for home over a furlong out and was only reeled in close home by well-touted Deerfield. The pair put clear daylight between themselves and Sir Michael Stoute's Referendum back in third and Landwade Lad is a two-year-old worth watching in the weeks ahead.
WATER HOLE ATR Tracker
(Sandown, 30 August)
John Gosden is a master at steadily upgrading his three-year-olds and Water Hole is a filly on an upwards curve. She still looked short of experience in the Atalanta Stakes, 'climbing' when William Buick asked for maximum effort, but there was no disgrace in finishing third to classy French raider Fintry. Water Hole came into the race with form figures reading 2111 and clearly handled the testing conditions.
WHIPLASH WILLIE ATR Tracker
(Chester, 30 August)
This was the mudlark's first public appearance in 93 days and the track was just soft enough for him to take his chance in the 1m 5f Listed race. Whiplash Willie travelled powerfully throughout and his rider may have been a tad over-confident that trailblazer Big Orange would come back to the field. That failed to happen, as Big Orange kicked again off the bend and Whiplash Willie couldn't lay a glove on him in the final furlong. Handicapping will prove difficult off this mark (107), but the six-year-old wouldn't look out of place in something like Ascot's big Champions Day stayers' race next month if it comes up soft.
RUSSIAN REALM ATR Tracker
(Chester, 30 August)
Sir Michael Stoute's colt was messed about from his middle draw in a field of 14 in this extended seven-furlong handicap and could never strike a blow. The four-year-old picked up a similar event on soft ground at Goodwood in May and is one to have on your side this autumn.
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