Luis Vaz De Torres (5-1), Red Stripes (5-1), Seeyouatmidnight (7-2), Mr Quicksilver (5-2) and Chookie Royale (7-4) were all winners for Alan over the Festive period as he returns with a bumper 12 eyecatchers this week.

  • Tuesday 05 January
  • Blog
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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.

(Huntingdon, 26 December)
Charlie Mann has been back among the winners of late and Expedite took full advantage of his rider’s 10lb allowance to land this 2m 4f novices’ hurdle. On only his fourth career start, Expedite struck the front three out and although headed briefly at the next, he was back in charge at the last. The four-year-old was doing his best work at the finish and clocked a comparatively decent time on the testing ground.

(Wolverhampton, 26 December)
Returning from a 112-day absence, Hawkesbury was well supported to land this six-furlong Conditions event but Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old could never strike a blow behind course specialist Chookie Royale. Hawkesbury was given a lot to do from off the pace and stuck to his task gamely over what is his minimum trip (scored over seven furlongs at Haydock in July). He has faced some fairly tough tasks, including when chasing home Limato on his racecourse debut, and Hawkesbury remains very much of interest.

(Kempton, 27 December)
Never managed to find a rhythm and was eventually pulled up in the three-mile chase won by The Last Samuri. The seven-year-old is a three-time winner over fences in Class 3 company and may have found this higher grade a bit hot. The best of his form has come on better ground and with the Paul Nicholls yard a bit hit and miss of late, Howlongisafoot could quite readily bounce back when the stable regains peak form.

(Kelso, 29 December)
Nick Alexander dropped his six-year-old into a handicap but the 2m 2f trip on bottomless ground just appeared to find out Benny’s Secret. A bumper winner at Ayr in March, the gelding travelled strongly for a long way but was under the pump when falling at the final flight when disputing third place behind easy winner Maxie T. Benny’s Secret had shown promise on a couple of occasions in novice hurdles and a mark of 106 still holds appeal in handicaps.

(Doncaster, 29 December)
Having his first run in 68 days but that didn’t dissuade punters sending The Grey Taylor off 2-1 market leader in this Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. The Grey Taylor, a free-going sort, cut out most of the running but he was headed when making a slight error at the final fence. Eventually beaten just over a length by Baltimore Rock and Katachenko in a driving finish, The Grey Taylor was by no means disgraced.

(Lingfield, 30 December)
Proving a shrewd acquisition for Jamie Osborne (formerly with Charlie Hills), Boomerang Bob has won his last two starts, at Southwell and Lingfield. The way the seven-year-old entire knuckled down to reel in enterprisingly ridden Mythmaker suggests he could well complete a hat-trick.

(Lingfield, 31 December)
Dark Wonder (rated 62) had very little chance in this one-mile apprentice seller won by the 80-rated Captain Lars and was duly beaten almost 11 lengths in fourth. However, Dark Wonder shaped quite well, leading over two out before weakening, and the three-year-old was snapped by Ivan Furtado for £6000. Dark Wonder scored for James Given over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton in September and he has joined a shrewd operation.

(Cheltenham, 1 January)
The heavily-backed Singlefarmpayment ran out an impressive winner of this Class 2 handicap over three miles but Dan Emmett was noted staying on steadily in seventh. Still only a six-year-old, Dan Emmett has improved since plying his trade with some success in moderate staying handicaps up north for John Wainwright and scored over hurdles at Chepstow last month for Michael Scudamore. Dan Emmett was raised 7lb to a rating of 125, but should remain competitive in slightly less demanding company.

(Sandown, 2 January)
Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old was chasing a hat-trick after victories at Sandown and Huntingdon, and ran a cracking race in defeat. Although ultimately put in his place by class act Yorkhill in the 32Red Tolworth Hurdle, O O Seven stayed on bravely up the hill and clearly relishes soft ground.

(Chelmsford, 2 January)
Showed plenty of dash to beat Brother Tiger at Lingfield in early December and Gay Kelleway’s four-year-old was able to match strides for a long way with useful Lancelot Du Lac in this Fast-Track Qualifier. Up 5lb here, Lightscameraction wilted close home, conceding second spot, but remains at the top of his game.

(Southwell, 2 January)
Although no match for impressive Zaeem, Tom Dascombe’s Captain Revelation travelled well within himself for a long way and wasn’t disgraced in finishing second. The winner clocked a smart time and Captain Revelation, a Chester scorer in July, is one to follow on the all-weather. He has ran second at Wolverhampton three times, so that opens up another option.

(Chelmsford, 3 January)
Has been knocking at the door in maiden company but James Tate’s decision to step his Cape Cross colt up to 10 furlongs did the trick in no uncertain manner. Cape Of Glory fairly spread-eagled his rivals down the straight, recording a rattling good time, and can make his mark in handicaps.

Alan Thomson's Eyecatchers column is sponsored by SIS - visit www.sis.tv for more information on a range of services for bookmaker and punter.

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