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.
TEN TO FOLLOW FROM TOWN MOOR 2018
Securing seventh spot behind Big Lachie was good enough to see Megan Nicholls retain her crown in this popular and highly-competitive Pro-Am series.
Eastern Impact ran well for a long way before fading out of the picture in the final 100 yards and Richard Fahey’s seven-year-old, running in the late David Barker’s colours, would be of interest if popping up in the Ayr Silver Cup.
Goes particularly well on soft so the bit of juice underfoot would have been welcomed by connections.
Eirene was restrained early by Robert Winston before throwing down a serious challenge over a furlong out.
Well-backed Dancing Star prevailed in an exciting finish and Eirene holds an entry in Saturday’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, although Dean Ivory has a better-fancied candidate in Flaming Spear.
Wherever she turns up next, Eirene should find the ground in her favour.
Promised plenty for the season ahead with an excellent second to Anna Nerium in the European Free Handicap at Newmarket in April but coming into this contest his mark had dropped to 95 having raced without disgrace in better company.
That rival was shaken off early in the straight and although collared at the furlong pole, Finniston Farm stayed on bravely under David Probert’s urging to hold second spot behind strong finisher Another Eclipse.
Initially racing nearer the unfavoured stands’ side, Indian Viceroy was switched left to deliver his challenge alongside the principals down the centre, staying on at one pace in fourth.
Hughie Morrison’s juvenile has been in cracking form and this performance can probably be marked up.
A tricky customer at the best of times, Open Wide wore an eyeshield besides his regular blinkers, but whether this new combination worked is hard to tell as Amanda Perrett’s gelding was never placed to strike a blow.
As the field hurtled down the centre of the track, Open Wide was anchored right at the back and eventually finished 15th after finding some trouble when asked for his effort.
He looked a bit unlucky not to catch Mountain Peak at Ascot the previous week and may remain in form.
Racing from out of the handicap, Pretty Jewel was doing good late work in third spot behind comfortable winner Lady Bergamot.
Pretty Jewel has returned from a break of almost three months after racking up a hat-trick of wins earlier in the season on good, soft and heavy ground.
Ian Williams’s mare has little margin for error off her current mark but, if anything, she still seems to be on the upgrade.
The handicapper displayed some leniency by raising Strict Tempo 2lb for her cosy Nottingham success in early August and connections were clearly happy to sit and wait for this bigger pot.
Their patience was almost rewarded as Strict Tempo was unfortunate not to collect, twice being denied a clear run from the two-furlong pole.
Andrew Balding’s filly was closing down fast on gambled-on winner Stay Classy and the form of this race looks solid.
Back on track following a 96-day absence, Wasntexpectingthat outran his 33-1 odds with a very fine third to another outsider, The Great Heir.
His earlier fifth to Rumble Inthejungle at Beverley in June marks him down as one to note through the autumn.
Speedball Soldier’s Call fairly blitzed his rivals but Well Done Fox managed to hang on to his coat-tails for longer than the rest.
Richard Hannon’s colt has done all his racing over the minimum trip so there may be a little improvement to come if asked to go an extra furlong.
At any rate, he has enjoyed a productive first season and looks the type to train on.
Low drawn horses dominated the finish, with Zeshov (stall 15) staying on from an impossible position to take fourth place.
Tony Culhane restrained his keen-going mount and had to chop and change positions on more than one occasion.
Zeshov was too far back to strike a blow when seeing clear daylight and it was a fine effort under the circumstances.
Zeshov was a significant market drifter, possibly on account of holding ground on the opening day, but the seven-year-old has won off higher marks in the past and usually ends the season on a high note.