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.
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE'S ZAINHOM ONE TO NOTE AT THREESHEIKSPEAR ATR Tracker
(Kempton, 5 October)
Joe Tuite will be plotting a handicap career for his two-year-old colt after a perfectly sound second to Jeremy Noseda’s Intrepidly. Sheikspear, fourth on his debut at Nottingham, led or disputed throughout this seven-furlong maiden before finding the winner too strong in the final 100 yards.JUST HISS ATR Tracker
(York, 8 October)
The ground was riding soft when Just Hiss landed a Beverley handicap easily off a 10lb lower mark in late August and he seemed to find the Knavesmire a bit too lively after the unseasonal dry spell. The gelding was held up before throwing down his challenge on the stands’ side, eventually finishing a half-length third to Weekend Offender.
In his previous race, Just Hiss had knuckled down to reel in Hibou at Musselburgh and Tim Easterby’s three-year-old seems ideally suited by a strongly-run mile.QUEENS WELL ATR Tracker
(Chepstow, 8 October)
The five-year-old landed a Uttoxeter bumper in June for Fergal O’Brien before joining Jamie Snowden, so there was a certain irony in Queens Well finishing second here to favourite Colin’s Sister – trained by one F O’Brien.
The front pair pulled 18 lengths clear of the third horse in this extended 2m 3f mares’ novices’ hurdle and Queens Well should be going one better before too long.ZAINHOM ATR Tracker
(Newmarket, 8 October)
There was a significant advantage to be gained racing on or close to the stands’ rail, so Zainhom was up against it from the worst draw in the Group3 Autumn Stakes. His cause was hardly helped by edging right out of the stalls but Hamdam Al Maktoum’s colt latched on to the leaders’ coat-tails as the race began to unfold in earnest from two furlongs out.
Despite taking a few bumps, Zainhom stuck on bravely to chase home Best Solution, with useful Irish raider The Anvil well held in third. Sir Michael Stoute’s juvenile still looked a bit immature and is one to look forward to next season, especially over a trip in excess of this mile.HEART LOCKET ATR Tracker
(Chelmsford, 10 October)
Mick Easterby struck earlier on the card with the gambled-on Anieres Boy and stablemate Heart Locket was nibbled at big prices in this 1m 2f handicap. Nathan Evans still had plenty of horse under him when the pace lifted but was cramped for room down on the fence, eventually switching his mount to finish fourth behind Mercy Me. This was the filly’s third run back from an 80-day break and she’s one to be with in the coming weeks.PEARL ACCLAIM ATR Tracker
(Chelmsford, 10 October)
Races almost exclusively over five furlongs but was stepped up in trip for this competitive handicap. Dandy Nicholls’ six-year-old took a fierce grip and would have appreciated tracking a stronger pace. He had nothing left when Jameerah eased to the front for an impressive win but Pearl Acclaim is a well handicapped sprinter these days. The gelding finished second and third at Chelmsford in January off 82 and was racing off 75 here, so his turn could be imminent.
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