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.
BECKY THE THATCHER GETS MY VOTE IN HANDICAPS ON GOOD GROUND
Very consistent around middle distances at a modest level (without winning) during a busy flat campaign through the summer, Becky The Thatcher has taken well to hurdling for Micky Hammond.
She mopped up a modest fillies’ juvenile hurdle at Musselburgh in November and later chased home Giveaway Glance at Catterick.
Becky The Thatcher probably improved again here, splitting Golden Vision and one-paced favourite Tearsofclewbay, and she will be of interest in handicaps on good ground.
David Bridgwater hasn’t shied away from taking on some useful novice hurdlers with his ex-Irish point winner.
Accord has been placed behind the likes of No Comment and Peter The Mayo Man, and he helped set up the race for market rivals Coeur De Lion and Rather Be by kicking on some way out before tiring in the heavy ground.
Accord will be going handicapping sooner rather than later.
Megan Carberry has struck up a successful partnership with Brian Ellison’s gelding, scoring at Musselburgh, Ludlow and Carlisle since October.
Mindful that Dominada’s last course victory had come over a longer trip, Carberry tried to make full use of her mount’s stamina by kicking on early in the straight.
Dominada had everything in trouble bar the smooth-travelling winner Diego Du Charmil and the five-year-old has developed into a useful northern handicapper on decent ground.
French-bred gelding started off in bumpers for Borders trainer James Ewart but is making up into a smart handicap hurdler for Philip Hobbs.
Verni, a dual Newton Abbot winner, appears well at ease on speed tracks as he settled the issue in a matter of strides racing down to the final flight.
He has tasted defeat only once in his last five starts, and that came in the Haydock mud when hunting up the very progressive Clyne in November.
Made little impression in bumpers but what a difference a few flights of hurdles have made to Sandy Thomson’s gelding.
Seemorelights defied odds of 66-1 to score at Kelso in mid-January and stepped up again in the three-mile Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle, finishing on the heels of all-the-way winner Monbeg Charmer and Soupy Soups.
The handicapper will have his say after this mighty effort but there are staying races in the north to be won by this son of Echo Of Light.
Punters who supported Harry Fry’s five-year-old into favouritism for this 3m 2f Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle were probably a bit disappointed by Wotzizname’s effort in fourth behind El Bandit, but they may later reflect that this was a stepping-stone to something better in the near future.
Having his first run in 92 days, and only his fourth all told, Wotzizname couldn’t muster a change of gear to close down the principals, but was still less than four lengths adrift of the winner.
Noel Fehily wasn’t hard on his mount and Wotzizname will have learned from this experience.