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.
LAYTOWN WINNER MONTEVERDI LOOKED A NATURAL AT SOUTHWELL
(Lingfield, 6 December)
Connections were left cursing their luck as a serious gamble on Michael Wigham’s four-year-old failed by a fast diminishing nose.
Formerly an 89-rated juvenile with Godolphin, the hooded Mansfield retains ability at this Class 5 level and despite an inevitable rise in his rating after getting so close to Dutiful Son, he should be able to find his way to the winner’s enclosure (engaged 6.20 Wolverhampton Tuesday, meeting now abandoned).
RED SQUARE REVIVAL
(Ludlow, 6 December)
Jumped like an old hand to land this 2m 4f novices’ handicap chase with lots to spare.
David Noonan sent his mount clear off the home bend and David Pipe’s six-year-old was adding to last month’s Plumpton success, both coming on good ground.
(Market Rasen, 7 December)
Fergal O'Brien has an embarrassment of riches in his burgeoning stable and Barney Dwan looks capable of taking fairly high rank in staying chases.
Running in the colours of Paul and Clare Rooney, the seven-year-old may have beaten only two rivals in this novices' chase, but the manner of his success was striking as he moved effortlessly to the front early in the straight.
Barney Dwan soon pulled clear and he jumped flawlessly throughout.
(Chepstow, 9 December)
Having his third run for Emma Lavelle and the five-year-old is getting the hang of the game judged on this promising third to useful Chooseyourweapon.
The Sweeney was in a handy slot turning for home and stayed on willingly when coming under pressure.
(Sandown, 9 December)
Neil Mulholland’s chaser was fancied to go one better than last year in the Betfair London National but his backers never got a run for their cash.
Doing Fine was settled well off the pace and taken wide at various stages of this 3m 5f stamina test.
He doesn’t do anything very quickly but was staying on best of all up the hill to finish fourth, having been given too much to do.
Good ground is his requirement.
(Southwell, 11 December)
Having his first experience of Fibresand and seemed right at home on the deep surface.
Monteverdi won on the beach at Laytown in September and is clearly versatile when it comes to synthetic surfaces.
Jamie Osborne’s gelding, running in the Michael Buckley silks, held sway for much of the contest until collared by two Southwell stalwarts in Hammer Gun and Custard The Dragon.