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.
SIX TO FOLLOW FROM THE JULY FESTIVAL
(Bahrain Trophy, 11 July)
Spanish Mission ran out a clear-cut winner and looks destined for bigger things.
Trailing in his wake, Andrew Balding’s Ranch Hand was under the cosh when encountering traffic problems two out but stayed on into fifth, beaten just over 11 lengths.
This was only his fourth career start, having mopped up two events at Southwell before running a creditable fifth to Anthony Van Dyck in the Lingfield Derby Trial.
The Kingsclere gelding will be worth a look when dropped into handicaps.
GABRIAL THE WIRE
(bet365 Handicap, 11 July)
Back in 10th spot, Gabrial The Wire could never strike a blow after Sean Davis found himself steering up a cul-de-sac on the congested far side.
Richard Fahey’s gelding was a relatively unconsidered 25-1 shot, having taken a hike for beating Barristan The Bold at Chester, but Gabrial The Wire left the impression he can still win off his new mark granted fast summer ground.
This six-furlong test was probably on the sharp side, so not a bad effort.
(bet365 Handicap, 12 July)
Mark Johnston made a three-pronged assault on this Class 2 handicap and Dark Vision performed best of the trio, occupying fourth place behind Walkinthesand.
James Doyle was happy to sit in mid-pack and was poised to make his move when finding his path blocked for a few strides.
Dark Vision stayed on well and he would be noteworthy if turning up at Goodwood this summer given his explosive victory in last August’s Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes.
(bet365 Trophy, 12 July)
David Elsworth’s stable stalwart isn’t easy to place these days but he emerged from a spell in the doldrums by posting an encouraging third to prolific winner King’s Advice in this 1m 6f Heritage Handicap.
Desert Skyline was sent off a 33-1 chance but under a patient Gerald Mosse ride he kept on well under his big weight.
A past Doncaster Cup winner on much slower ground, the five-year-old would be a force to be reckoned with again if able to sustain this solid effort.
(bet365 Mile Handicap, 13 July)
Richard Hannon has been sizzling in the sun and Motakhayyel gave him another winner under a canny Chris Hayes ride.
Charting a route down the centre of the track before edging over to the favoured stands’ rail, Hayes had enough confidence in his mount’s ability to stay the mile trip that he had Motakhayyel to the fore throughout.
The winner was strong at the finish and devoured the climb to the line suggesting another victory is imminent on a slick surface
(bet365 Bunbury Cup, 13 July)
Winner Vale Of Kent was widely perceived as being better on a turning track but that theory took a knock under another inspired Frankie Dettori ride.
There didn’t appear to be high expectations for 50-1 shot Sanaadh but he outran those odds, finishing eighth despite traffic problems.
Jimmy Quinn had his mount buried towards the rear of the far side group and was checked in his run over a furlong out.
Six-year-old Sanaadh has had an interesting career.
The gelding won for Richard Fahey at Thirsk in April, 2016 before joining Andreas Wohler.
Following only two runs in Germany he reappeared at Chelmsford City last September, by now in the care of Michael Wigham, and went on to notch two victories on the all-weather (Newcastle and Kempton).
He is one to watch.