Rhys Williams has nominated nine horses to note from the past week's action.

  • Wednesday 13 November
  • Blog
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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.


A little note before this week’s Eyecatchers. In this column I won’t be highlighting any horse whose run has gained a lot of attention from the public and/or the stewards as I think it doesn’t add any value to the reader when everyone has noticed it. That meant that Eaglehill wasn’t included last week and Little Rory Mac isn’t among this week’s nine Eyecatchers.

3rd – Visit The New coralchampionsclub.co.uk Website Handicap Hurdle, Exeter, Tuesday 5th November

Here’s Bingo had shown little over hurdles until finishing third at Exeter in what I think was a strong race for the grade. His jumping lacked fluency in the first half of the race in mid division while Those Tiger Feet and Guardia Top opened up a gap on the main pack.

Here’s Bingo made headway at the end of the back straight to be just behind the leaders but was soon left behind by that leading pair. He kept responding to pressure in the straight and although he couldn’t ever challenge that pair, he stayed on well to finish third beaten 5¾ lengths.

Those Tiger Feet had the potential to be very well handicapped based on his bumper form while Guardia Top was 6lb well in under a penalty after her Chepstow victory, so this was a creditable run from Here’s Bingo who has been raised 2lb to 83.

This was the first sign of promise from him since his debut at the same track and I think he can build on it over the coming months, with a step up in trip looking likely to suit.

4th – 100% Profit Boost At 32redsport.com Handicap, Kempton, Tuesday 5th November

War Empress had shown minor promise in a novice race at Wetherby in April and stepped up to 2m for her handicap debut at Kempton, she caught the eye having not had things go her way.

Squeezed up at the start, she raced in last for much of the race and was hampered again towards the end of the back straight as Incus dropped back.

Still in last turning into the straight, she was pushed along to make headway but found herself behind a wall of horses just over 2 furlongs out. Only getting a clear passage once inside the final furlong, she picked up well under hands and heels to finish fourth.

The handicapper has very kindly dropped her 1lb for this run and I think she’s capable of progressing in staying handicaps on the all weather this winter.

7th – “Mick Finn” A Lifetime In Racing Chase, Chepstow, Wednesday 6th November

Another Theatre had caught the eye on her return to action at Stratford and that was once again the case on her chasing debut at Chepstow.

Restrained in the early stages in an attempt to settle her, she ended up dropping back to last leaving the back straight and after a mistake at 5 out, appeared likely to completely drop away. However, just as at Stratford, she finished well and was strong through the line without ever getting into contention.

When winning at Catterick last season she was prominent throughout and, with chasing experience now under her belt, hopefully a return to these tactics will be made. Dropped 3lb for the Chepstow run to 117, I think she could improve on what she’s shown this season if that does happen.

4th – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier), Newbury, Thursday 7th November

Geordie B showed plenty of ability last year in staying novice hurdles on soft ground and he returned to action with a promising run in a Pertemps qualifier at Newbury.

Racing towards the back of the field for most of the race, his jumping lacked fluency and he came under pressure in last place after 3 out. He responded and stayed on well into fourth.

He holds an entry in the Grade 3 3m handicap hurdle at Haydock on 23rd November and this run could have put him spot on for that race which should be a more suitable test for him with the mud likely to be flying.  

6th – Micky Rawlings Memorial Handicap Chase, Newbury, Thursday 7th November

There was another Eyecatcher in the following race at Newbury, with the Sean Curran-trained Domaine De L’isle shaping well on his second run in Britain.

Formerly trained by Emmanuel Clayeux he showed plenty of promise early in his career in France but hadn’t quite gone on to deliver on that. He ran quite well on first run for Curran at Kempton over hurdles in May and stepped up on that at Newbury on his first run over fences in Britain.

In France he looked in need of a stiffer test of stamina and that once again looked the case at Newbury. He was in a share of last at 4 out and still appeared to be going nowhere fast at 2 out but stayed on very strongly to be a fast-finishing sixth.

A step back up in trip would look suitable and I think he can show himself to be better than his now 2lb lower mark of 120 over fences.

5th – Mongey Communications Beginners Chase, Naas, Saturday 9th November

Ten Ten missed the whole of last season but he’s returned in good form this season and backed up a promising run off a 462-day break at Galway with another one at Naas on Saturday.

Having avoided the early carnage, he travelled well and generally jumped well until a slight error at 3 out. He quickly recovered and was travelling well just behind the leaders when he stumbled on landing at 2 out. He kept on well after that but couldn’t put in the challenge that had looked likely prior to 2 out.

Hopefully he stays in one piece and can continue to build on the promise on these two chase runs over the rest of the season and beyond.

5th – Frome Scaffolding Group EBF Stallions “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle, Wincanton, Saturday 9th November

Espion made his debut in the bumper on this card last season and returned for his first outing since then in a strong novices’ hurdle that opened the card.

The race didn’t get off to the best of starts for him as he slipped going into the first hurdle. He raced towards the back of the field until making some headway on the long run to 3 out but was then swiftly left behind by the front four early in the straight.

Not given a remotely hard time after, he started to pick up again between the final two hurdles and was notably strong through the line in fifth.

Espion may still have some growing up to do mentally but this performance hinted that he also has a good level of ability and can progress from this in due course.

3rd – navanracecourse.ie Handicap Hurdle, Navan, Sunday 10th November

Cherif De L’isle is very lightly raced for a 7yo and his return from a 709-day break at Navan on Sunday on his first start for Gordon Elliott suggested that he has a chance of belatedly fulfilling the potential shown in France much earlier in his career.

As a 4yo he beat Capitoul at Nantes but having been switched to the owner’s care the following year he ran poorly in three starts in Ireland. A switch to Lucinda Russell came the following year but ground meant he never made the track for her and was then bought by Elliott for £16,000.

At Navan, he caught the eye travelling well into the straight and continued to make smooth headway to 2 out. Pushed along after, he didn’t seem to be finding much but after a mistake at the last he finished strongly into third.

There’s always a concern when a horse has had as many absences as he has but he’s in the right hands and this run suggested that he can prove to be better than his revised rating of 107.

4th – Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race, Sunday 10th November

Much of the focus pre-race in this bumper was on the ex-pointers Fakir d’Alene and Energumene and while the latter ran a promising race, it was a complete newcomer in One Down who gained my attention.

A bit keen early on, he travelled strongly for much of the race and was going as well as any turning into the straight. Lisa O’Neill looked to be trying to get a lead for as long as possible but just as Stormy Judge couldn’t take her any further, Jungle Junction came to challenge.

One Down quickened to stay with him but in the last 150 yards he had nothing left to give and came home in 4th. This looked a strong bumper and it was a very promising debut from One Down against horses with experience.

A bumper should be his for the taking this season before going on to further success over obstacles in the future.

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