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.
SIX TO FOLLOW FROM AINTREE 2018
(Zut Media Red Rum Handicap Chase)
Paul Henderson’s useful gelding rarely completes a circuit without clouting at least one fence and he made a couple of characteristic errors which compromised his chance in this strongly-run contest.
Doitforthevillage proved no match for Bentelimar but wasn’t disgraced in hunting up the placed horses.
This was another solid run following his sixth to Le Prezien in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham and it will all fall into place one day.
(Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper)
Getaway Katie Mai stood out on paper, with her close second to subsequent Weatherbys Champion Bumper heroine Relegate at Leopardstown the best form on offer.
However, it didn’t look promising as she took a fierce tug under Jamie Codd before making up an inordinate amount of ground to collar Duhallow Gesture at the furlong pole.
Huntingdon winner Duhallow Gesture deserves plenty of praise as she had her rivals at full stretch when pulling three or four lengths clear down the straight.
Anthony Honeyball’s horses are going well without winning (Ms Parfois also ran a cracker) and he is a trainer to follow in the weeks ahead.
(Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle)
Given a typically quiet ride by Brian Hughes, Project Bluebook was perfectly placed throughout before finding the principals just too strong between the last two flights, eventually staying on into a one-paced sixth behind Jester Jet.
Still only a five-year-old, Project Bluebook has shown a preference for decent ground in the past so this was a very creditable performance on a deep surface.
(Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle)
Iain ‘Scobie’ Jardine seems to have made a very shrewd purchase out of Dan Skelton’s yard. Bedrock hacked up in a minor contest at Musselburgh on his debut for the yard before being asked to tackle some of the UK’s best young two-mile hurdlers, totally outrunning his 50-1 odds.
Bedrock, subject of a wind operation before that first run for his new stable, was a winner at a mile for William Haggas and Jardine has a well-handicapped horse for the Flat.
HOLLY BUSH HENRY
(Betway Handicap Chase)
Helped force the pace alongside impressive all-the-way winner Thomas Patrick and deserved better than his sixth finishing position.
Holly Bush Henry jumped proficiently throughout under James Bowen until a blunder at the last when tiring brought him to his knees.
Phil Middleton gave him a summer break last year before Holly Bush Henry reappeared in September to mop up two events on good ground at Plumpton and Worcester.
The gelding has enjoyed further success this season at Sandown and Fakenham and is a credit to the yard.
(Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle)
This competitive event brought the curtain down on an excellent three days on Merseyside and there was drama right up to the end with leader Scheu Time knuckling over at the last.
Katie Walsh restrained her keen mount in the early stages before producing Scheu Time with what appeared a perfectly-timed run before their unfortunate mishap.
The form of his Catterick second to Sam’s Gunner in early February has worked out well, with Scheu Time easily picking up his maiden at Thurles in March.