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.
SORT IT OUT ATR Tracker
(Punchestown, 31 December)
There was a welcome change of fortune for Eddie Harty when Sort It Out quickened smartly from the last flight to beat Gallant Oscar in this 2m 4f handicap hurdle. The JP McManus-owned six-year-old can win again now that the stable is out of the doldrums.
ROBINSFIRTH ATR Tracker
(Cheltenham, 1 January)
The winner of a Wincanton bumper, Robinfirth is progressing nicely for Colin Tizzard. Having won his novice hurdle at Exeter 27 days earlier, Robinsfirth was pitched into a stronger event here and only gave way close home after a tremendous tussle with resilient Thomas Brown.
GALLEONS WAY ATR Tracker
(Ayr, 2 January)
It could be construed as a shot in the dark flagging up a horse beaten more than 40 lengths, but Galleons Way showed enough to suggest he will do better when sent handicapping. The son of Generous set a decent clip in testing ground but hit the wall in the home straight as the runners were battered by a very strong headwind. Winner Sir Vinski is quite a serious northern novice and Galleons Way had previously shown some promise at Hexham (runner-up scored easily next time).
TRIOLO D’ALENE ATR Tracker
(Sandown, 3 January)
Ran a sound Grand National trial, despite encountering unsuitably testing ground, staying on into third place behind useful Unioniste. A past Hennessy and Topham winner, Triolo D'Alene was pulled up in last season's Grand National when quite well fancied. A breathing impairment appears to have been rectified, which augurs well for the talented eight-year-old.
DEVILMENT ATR Tracker
(Plumpton, 4 January)
Formerly a decent middle-distance handicapper rated in the mid-90s for Charlie Appleby, Devilment made a most encouraging debut for John Ferguson. Noel Fehily charted a wide course and Devilment was caught a few lengths out of his ground as odds-on winner Pain Au Chocolat kicked off the home bend. Devilment wasn't given a hard time and there is probably more in the locker.
JUMBO PRADO ATR Tracker
(Wolverhampton, 5 January)
A regular over an extended mile at the Midlands track, Jumbo Prada hadn't been seen since chasing home Loraine in November. Dropped to seven furlongs, the grey was understandably fresh in the early stages and, after taking quite a strong tug, led the field into the straight before being swallowed up. He will be knocking at the door again when returned to his usual trip.
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