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.
CLIVE COX'S BOBBY WHEELER CAN COLLECT AGAIN UP IN GRADE
(Newcastle, 31 January)
Found himself too far out of his ground when favourite Oriental Lily quickened smartly to run out a ready winner of this 5f handicap.
Hamish McGonagain snatched second and although high enough in the ratings on the back of some excellent runs at Wolverhampton, David O’Meara’s sprinter remains consistent at this Class 5 level.
(Kempton, 1 February)
Rookie apprentice Amelia Glass gave her free-running mount the perfect ride and in the process recorded her first victory under Rules.
Bobby Wheeler, a very willing partner, saw out the 7f trip stoutly and clearly appreciated this drop into Class 4 company.
Clive Cox’s gelding will be back up in grade after this clear-cut success but won off a higher mark at Ascot in midsummer.
(Wolverhampton, 2 February)
Travelled strongly throughout this 2m handicap and looked to have his rivals in trouble when Shane Kelly booted him clear off the home bend.
However, Seaport was treading water at the furlong pole before fading into third behind powerful finisher Mambo Dancer.
This was only his fourth start for Seamus Durack since arriving from France and some slight improvement can reasonably be expected.
LANCELOT DU LAC
(Lingfield, 3 February)
There was a blanket finish to the Betway Cleve Stakes, a Listed contest over six furlongs, with favourite Kachy holding on by a nose.
Lancelot Du Lac was further back in sixth, but only a length off the winner, having over-raced slightly when moving strongly under Robert Winston before the home turn.
The eight-year-old was having his first start in 140 days so was entitled to feel a bit fresh and Lancelot Du Lac remains a credit to Dean Ivory.
(Musselburgh, 3 February)
A small but fairly select field lined up for the bet365 Scottish Future Champions Novices’ Chase and racegoers were denied a thrilling finish when Keeper Hill and The Mayo Man departed at the fourth-last fence just as the race was approaching boiling point.
That left heavily-backed Barney Dwan clear but Keeper Hill, conceding 4lb all round, left the impression he would have given the favourite plenty to think about.
This previous winner possesses potential for even more improvement.
SIMPLY THE BETTS
(Musselburgh, 4 February)
Arrived in Scotland on the back of two solid runs in novice/maiden company at Kempton and Newbury, and acquitted himself well in splitting Beyond The Clouds and Claimantakinforgan.
Harry Whittington’s gelding may not have been ideally suited by the track as he was outpaced early in the straight before galloping strongly to the line.
It would have been interesting if Simply The Betts had been a bit slicker over final flight.