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.
RAINY CITY CAN MAKE THE SUN SHINE SOON
(Carlisle, 13 August)
Karen McLintock’s gelding, running in the colours of former licence holder Don Eddy, made a brave attempt to run down favourite Knowing Glance, a neck separating the pair at the line. The track was described as heavy and this was the first time Black Friday had encountered deep ground, so that will open up options, especially as he stayed this stiff 7f trip stoutly.
(Salisbury, 14 August)
Ascension lengthened his stride impressively to stretch clear after Jack Mitchell had pushed him through a gap near the far rail over a furlong out. Roger Varian’s son of Dark Angel had clearly benefited from just an ordinary debut at Newbury the previous month and this drop to six furlongs on an easy surface was right up Ascension’s street.
G FOR GABRIAL
(Beverley, 15 August)
The penny seems to have dropped in the past few weeks, with G For Gabrial turned out quite quickly by Richard Fahey nine days after finishing second (soft) at Nottingham. G For Gabrial had plenty of ground to make up as favourite Lord Of The Alps kicked for home, but Paul Hanagan’s mount was strong at the finish, pulling clear to score by more than three lengths. Another nursery success granted easy ground is on the cards.
(Perth, 17 August)
Any diligent punter trawling the formbook ahead of this 3m handicap hurdle would have noted Rainy City’s excellent record at Perth. While in the care of Paul Nicholls he landed a novice hurdle here in 2016 and backed that up with a fine second at the Scone track in a novice chase the following season off 134.
Rainy City revelled in the deep ground when mopping up a novice chase on a return visit last season for new trainer Iain Jardine (off 117) and Rainy Day’s latest handler, Jim Goldie, must have been rubbing his hands in anticipation when the track turned heavy, with his nine-year-old gelding perched on 102 and Danny McMenamin taking off 5lb.
There was good money for Rainy City and his backers never turned a hair, with an easy ten lengths separating the imposing winner from Gordon Elliott’s favourite Holy Motivation. A job well planned and executed.
(Ripon, 17 August)
Dual-purpose trainer Stef Keniry is enjoying a fine year and she placed Potenza to good effect when scoring twice in June. Both victories, at Newmarket and Leicester, came over a mile with some juice in the ground and she then stepped Potenza up to ten furlongs when a running-on third to George Mallory at Haydock.
Only eight days later, her gelding was asked to go 12 furlongs here in quite a hot little handicap won by in-form and progressive Euro Implosion. Unlike the always prominent winner, given an astute tactical ride by Graham Lee, Potenza came from quite a bit back to launch his challenge down the outside and didn’t appear to be running out of stamina in second place.
(Newbury, 17 August)
Exotically-named Claudia Metaireau wouldn’t be a rider too familiar on racecards but she has now ridden a third and second on two career starts for Andrew Balding. This 1m 4f handicap was restricted to rookie lady jockeys and her mount Landa Beach responded just a little too late to catch favourite Gas Monkey.
The winner is enjoying a cracking season, so Landa Beach’s effort can probably be marked up. He made a winning debut on good to soft at this track last October and remains lightly campaigned. Landa Beach’s ability to handle deep ground should stand him in good stead if there is a soggy late summer/autumn.