WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
FULL VERSE CAN CALL A WINNING TUNE AFTER TRIALS DAY THIRD
(Ascot, 1 May)
Given her high-profile American pedigree, Lady Pauline grabbed plenty of headlines in the build-up to this innovative Royal Ascot Trials fixture and for most of the race the script was being played out as predicted, with Wesley Ward’s filly running the legs off her rivals.
However, the picture changed dramatically through the final furlong as Lady Pauline wilted, with Richard Fahey’s Ventura Rebel drawing away close home.
Back in third was Godolphin’s Full Verse, disappointing when running green on debut at HQ last month.
Charlie Appleby’s Kodiac colt was edgy in the preliminaries but stuck on for third spot.
He may well improve again on the back of this experience.
(Lingfield, 3 May)
Jack Mitchell rode the 11-8 favourite with plenty of confidence and won with a bit in hand, suggesting another victory is just around the corner.
(Musselburgh, 3 May)
Rebecca Bastiman’s gelding will never win top marks for consistency but the six-year-old ran his best race for quite some time.
Favourite Kupa River was the only horse punters wanted to know and he duly bolted up, but Roaring Forties made good late headway into second after being restrained by Connor Beasley from his wide berth.
He popped up at Ayr on soft ground last October.
(Goodwood, 4 May)
This was a significant step forward from her seasonal return at Kempton the previous month when looking laboured.
Anna Nerium was closing down favourite Awesometank through the final 100 yards and may have preferred a slightly stiffer test.
Anna Nerium finished second in last year’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom’s Investec Derby meeting and that may well be her next port of call.
She probably needs just a little juice in the ground to show her very best.
(Newmarket, 4 May)
Proved his all-weather versatility through the winter by winning three times at Kempton, Newcastle and Wolverhampton, and last month’s second at Ripon proved he was no slouch on turf, either.
Surprisingly, punters didn’t want to know the William Haggas-trained gelding for this Class 2 handicap as he drifted quite noticeably, but Alkaamel travelled well before finding only Pogo too quick through the final 50 yards.
(Hamilton, 5 May)
Tuned to perfection following a recent third to Eddystone Rock at Leicester in a race that is working out well, Rare Groove was heavily-supported throughout the morning for this 1m 5f handicap.
Jedd O’Keeffe’s gelding landed the money with a bit in hand on ground that may have been on the lively side.
He had shown a liking for the Hamilton hill when scoring over a shorter trip last summer and clearly excels when encountering a stiff uphill finish.