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.
ATOMIC JACK CAN RESUME WINNING WAYS AFTER UNLUCKY LINGFIELD SECOND
(Lingfield, 15 February)
Looked a strong stayer when scoring over two miles at Kempton nine days earlier and George Baker’s gelding was unlucky not to follow up under his fixed penalty in a race that wasn’t run to suit.
Atomic Jack took a grip and led or disputed on the rails at an old man’s pace for the first mile before losing his nice pitch when the pace increased four furlongs from home.
Nicola Currie appeared in no hurry to make up ground from a perilous position but, when eventually finding some room, Atomic Jack finished with such a flourish that he would have caught winner Thresholdofadream in another couple of strides.
Atomic Jack has returned from a 141-day break in top form and can resume winning ways in this lowly grade.
(Ascot, 16 February)
Favourite Al Dancer ran out a very ready winner of the re-arranged Betfair Hurdle but Getaway Trump should have finished closer than fourth.
Harry Cobden anchored his mount in rear but paid the price in a tactical contest as Getaway Trump faced an insuperable task turning for home.
Getaway Trump was raised 4lb for his battling second to Champ in the longer Challow Hurdle at Newbury, with the winner installed favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month, and is well worth another chance.
(Lingfield, 16 February)
David O’Meara saddled two fancied sprinters for this six-furlong handicap and it was the outsider of the duo, Alsvinder, which rallied bravely to win a thriller from Merhoob and stablemate Gulliver.
Danny Tudhope’s hands were tied from his widest draw as he settled Gulliver in rear before closing through the final furlong.
The five-year-old hasn’t won since rattling off a quick all-weather hat-trick at three different tracks (Kempton, Lingfield and Wolverhampton) in October/November 2017, but his turn is at hand.
RAMSES DE TEILLEE
(Haydock, 16 February)
David Pipe’s likeable grey has Aintree Grand National written all over him and the seven-year-old has time on his side.
Ramses De Teillee, a real Chepstow specialist, again underlined his preference for a galloping track on soft ground with David Noonan looking assured as he steered his mount to the front early in the straight.
His backers must have shared that confidence until stout stayer Robinsfirth loomed up at the last fence, eventually edging out Ramses De Teillee by three-quarters of a length.
HOLD THE NOTE
(Huntingdon, 17 February)
Ran out quite a convincing winner of a 2m 3f novices’ hurdle at Doncaster at the end of December and Mick Channon’s gelding confirmed places with runner-up Ivilnoble under his penalty.
However, Hold The Note found one too good on this occasion in the shape of Breaking Waves, conceding the winner 11lb, but the former bumper winner would have gone close had he not made a hash of the final flight.
This form should stand up.
(Lingfield, 18 January)
The winner of a Towcester bumper on her sole start last April, Destinee Royale made a satisfactory debut over hurdles.
She travelled well within herself under Aidan Coleman on very testing ground before odds-on Dominateur asserted between the final two flights.
Destinee Royale almost caught New Age Dawning for second and Venetia Williams can place her to advantage.