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.
THE BELL CONDUCTOR
(Thirsk, 3 June)
Jockey-turned-trainer Phillip Makin posted an early career victory at Thirsk in mid-May and The Bell Conductor came close to doubling that tally in this 6f maiden stakes, running favourite Toro Strike to a neck. The well-held fourth No Mercy had previously shown up promisingly behind Glasvegas and Taxiwala at Hamilton in a race that is working out (runner-up and fourth have since won) and The Bell Conductor is a winner-in-waiting.
(Nottingham, 5 June)
Richard Hannon’s son of Charm Spirit had to dig deep to land this Class 4 one-mile handicap, rallying under a never-say-die ride from Sean Levey. Ouzo led the field until headed two out, with King Ademar looking the more likely winner, but Ouzo wouldn’t lie down in receipt of 13lb from the runner-up. On his previous visit to Nottingham in April, King Ademar had chased home subsequent Qipco 2000 Guineas runner-up King Of Change so the form appears very solid for this grade and Ouzo had more than three lengths in hand of favourite Dalaalaat back in third.
(Chelmsford City, 6 June)
The six-year-old did his racing in France before joining Mick Appleby this season and he seems to have settled in fully on the evidence of this commanding performance. Always travelling strongly, Moon Trouble readily pulled clear of solid yardstick Goodnight Girl to land this Class 3 handicap over six furlongs. He was due to drop 2lb, so could be hard to beat under a penalty or when re-assessed.
(Ripon, 6 June)
David O’Meara’s gelding goes well with some cut underfoot and David Nolan seemed to have made a race-winning move when switching Anythingtoday for a clear run two out. He appeared home and dry for a brief moment at the furlong marker before being scythed down by Speed Company’s burst of acceleration. Anythingtoday had finished a fine fourth to in-form Fayez here last time over nine furlong but he seemed to stay this 1m 4f trip well enough, the front pair drawing four lengths clear. He is quite well handicapped on old form.
(Beverley, 8 June)
There was the suspicion the handicapper had done his worst when Byron’s Choice, a three-time winner over seven furlongs at Catterick, Ayr and York last season, finished last of ten on his comeback at Thirsk. Dropped 2lb, Byron’s Choice bounced back to form, throwing down a persistent challenge before being held through the final 100 yards by tenacious Love Dreams. Michael Dods will have been heartened by this effort.
(Chelmsford City, 8 June)
Oisin Murphy’s forcing tactics almost paid off as Qaroun stretched his field in this Class 2 handicap over a mile. With the rest beaten off, it was left to in-form War Glory to mount a strong challenge that took him to the front close home. Qaroun has scored at Kempton, Goodwood and Newbury, and the assessor seems to have him pegged on a mark of 88. Sir Michael Stoute isn’t in the habit of putting up apprentices but Qaroun may need a little help to gain his fourth career victory. He remains in good form.