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.
BULFIN ISLAND ATR Tracker
(Chepstow, 11 February)
Drying ground was against Alan King's six-year-old but, after being left for dead turning for home, he stayed on strongly into third behind impressive winner Carningli. Following a promising debut at Worcester in October, Bulfin Island was returning here from a slight injury and this previous point-to-point scorer will surely appreciate a step up to three miles on a deeper surface.
CHILDESPLAY ATR Tracker
(Kempton, 11 February)
Something of a slow burner but Childesplay ignited in this seven-furlong handicap with a game victory. The filly had to work fairly hard in the early stages to overcome her wide draw (14) and it is to Childesplay's credit that she stayed on strongly after hitting the front two furlongs out. The filly had chased home City Of Angkor Wat eight days earlier after a short break and she is going the right way.
SEBASTIAN BEACH ATR Tracker
(Chepstow, 11 February)
Winner of a 1m 6f Sandown handicap on fast ground for Richard Hannon in midsummer, Sebastian Beach is finding his feet over hurdles. Tony McCoy set out to make all and although joined briefly three out, Sebastian Beach was soon clear again running down to the last. His previous run at Ludlow, when third to Beltor and Arabian Revolution, set a fair standard and Jonjo O'Neill's four-year-old appreciated drying conditions.
HAWK HIGH ATR Tracker
(Kelso, 12 February)
The Timeform Morebattle Hurdle has been won by some talented types over the years and Hawk High ran into a much-improved rival in Glingerburn. That said, Hawk High's prospects weren't helped by an incident two flights from home when Brian Hughes' mount ran into a pocket, forfeiting a vital couple of lengths in the process. Hawk High, a Fred Winter Juvernile Handicap Hurdle winner at Cheltenham, comes into his own at this time of the year on a sounder surface.
DEPUTY DAN ATR Tracker
(Ascot, 14 February)
On the back of his second to Very Wood in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, Deputy Dan could reasonably have been expected to take high rank when switched to fences. However, he hasn't hit any dizzy heights as yet and occasional flaws in his jumping technique continue to hamper his evolution. In the Reynoldstown Chase, Deputy Dan (equipped with blinkers for the first time) was ultimately well beaten by improving Ainsi Fideles but he remains the type to make up into a useful handicapper.
MONBEG DUDE ATR Tracker
(Haydock, 14 February)
Ran a perfectly respectable Grand National trial in this Betfred-sponsored 3m 5f handicap, staying on into third behind Lie Forrit. Tony McCoy wasn't hard on the former Welsh National hero, perhaps mindful that 11st 11lb on testing ground could leave its mark before the big one at Aintree on April 11. There are worse 33-1 shots lurking in the ante-post books and Monbeg Dude could easily improve on last year's seventh when encountering ground a tad too lively for his liking.
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