WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
HINT OF MINT ATR Tracker
(Leicester, 7th January)
Not a bad novice hurdle, with Hint Of Mint pulling clear from Uhlan Bute (winner since) and talented Milo Man on the slog to the line. Hint Of Mint, a mid-70s horse on the flat, could finish only 10th behind rising star Irving at Taunton in November but had stepped up on that run when third at Wincanton the following month. Going the right way.
SOFTSONG ATR Tracker
(Doncaster, January 8th)
A smart sort on the Flat, Softsong dug deep to put 10 lengths between himself and Minella Friend. Softsong finished eighth in the Chester Cup off 97 (poor draw in 19) when trained by Philip Hobbs and, not surprisingly, coped admirably with this 2m 4f trip.
ROWAN RIDGE ATR Tracker
(Lingfield, 10th January)
Returning from more than a year off and ridden by a rookie apprentice, it was no surprise to see Rowan Ridge going off a 25-1 shot. However, the gelding shaped with plenty of promise, being denied room on the run to the home bend and then drifting wide. Not beaten far in fourth behind The Blue Dog (winner since) and has a fine record at this track.
HAVELOVEWILLTRAVEL ATR Tracker
(Lingfield, January 11th)
Jeremy Noseda's filly had caught the eye with a six-length romp in a modest event at Kempton in early November and acquitted herself well enough off a 9lb higher mark behind Archie Rice in this 1m 4f handicap. This was only the four-year-old's fifth career start and could be open to a little more improvement, especially as she was returning from a nice break.
IF IN DOUBT ATR Tracker
(Kempton, 11th January)
JP McManus' six-year-old continues to make steady progress and stepped up on his previous Towcester success by chasing home impressive Saphir Du Rheu. Not hard to imagine him turning up in one of the big Cheltenham Festival handicaps.
PEPITE ROSE ATR Tracker
(Kempton, 11th January)
Eventually faded into fourth behind the admirable Captain Chris, but ran much better than her finishing position. Had earlier scored at Wetherby and she usually hits peak form in the spring.
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