Rhys Williams nominates another quintet of horses to catch his eye over the last week.

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Welcome to the attheraces.com Eyecatchers column. Every week Rhys Williams will pinpoint horses primed to strike in the next few weeks, if not days. Remember, you can add Rhys's weekly updates to your ATR Tracker.

Irish Minister To Stage A Resurgence


7th - Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap, Tuesday 30th June

Folk Dance showed promise on both starts as a two-year-old and did so once again when enduring a troubled passage on handicap debut on her first start after a 235-day break.

Heavily restrained early on to race at the rear of the field, she remained there until starting to make smooth headway with just over two furlongs to go. She was the only horse still on the bridle two furlongs out but her path was blocked when Callum Shepherd first went for a gap and she was hampered again with a furlong to go as Duesenberg came across her.

Left in third last she was only nudged out in the final furlong and finished strongly into seventh, beaten 2¼ lengths. 

The ease with which she travelled suggests that Folk Dance may have won with a clear run and she looks better than her rating of 74 on this evidence.


1st - Irish EBF Median Sires Series (C&G) Maiden, Thursday 2nd July

Snapraeterea was strong in the market for his debut at Bellewstown and duly delivered despite doing plenty wrong. In a slowly run race, he raced very keenly in mid-division through the early stages.

No Patience had opened up a gap on the rest of the field early in the straight but after being switched outside of rivals, Snapraeterea soon effortlessly joined him. Shaken up with a furlong to go, he started to get on top of the battle with that rival and looked set to draw away and win comfortably but he tried to jump the crossing and lost momentum.

That gave No Patience another chance but Snapraeterea had enough left to hold on by half-a-length.

The winning margin significantly underplays his superiority over the field and having gained that experience, I think Snapraeterea could take a big step forward from the bare form of this run on his second start.


2nd - Hipswell Classified Stakes (Div I), Thursday 2nd July

Since joining David Thompson, Irish Minister has gradually slipped from a rating of 71 to 47 but his run at Catterick suggested that he could add a second success to his tally off a lowly rating in the near future.

Held-up towards the back of the field, he was nudged along to track Sea Sister starting the final turn and then pushed along more vigorously and switched outside of her to get a clear run, as the field started to enter the home straight.

He was soon the only challenger to Sea Sister and while she went a couple of lengths clear with just over a furlong to go, Irish Minister kept responding gamely to pressure and closed the margin to only three quarters of a length at the line while finishing five lengths clear of the third.

Since joining Thompson, Irish Minister has mainly run over either staying trips on the Fibresand at Southwell or over a mile when racing on the flat. On the evidence of his run at Catterick, it seems that distances around 1m4f on turf will be more suitable for him and having only been raised 1lb to 48, I think he could pick up a low grade handicap or two under those conditions.


3rd - bet365.com Novice Stakes (Div I), Friday 3rd July

Raaed was one of three newcomers to line up in this race and fared best of them, finishing a close third despite showing clear signs of inexperience. He was awkwardly away and shifted right, leaving him towards the back of the field early on.

Nudged along early in the straight, he made a little headway but still had plenty of ground to make up on the leader with two furlongs to go. Put under stronger pressure he started to close while drifting left and kept responding all the way to the line, finishing just three quarters of a length behind the winner.

This was a promising start to Raaed’s career and he looks set to be a good prospect over distances between a mile and 1m2f.


3rd - Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap, Sunday 5th July

Jumaira Bay ran well on his handicap debut at Doncaster last month and returned to the same track, this time over seven furlongs, for his latest start.

Slowly away, he raced towards the back of the field in a steadily-run race. Briefly nudged along just over two furlongs out, his path was completely blocked for much of the penultimate furlong while Tiger Crusade and Society Lion started to move clear from the rest of the field.

After barging his way into the clear with a furlong to go, he finished strongly into third while unable to challenge the front pair.

This run suggested that the 4lb rise that Jumaira Bay had received after his handicap debut wasn’t going to stop him winning races and he could have a lot more to come over this trip when getting a clear run in a stronger run race.

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