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.
TOWCESTER BUMPER WINNER KNOW THE SCORE IS SET FOR A GOOD CAREER
(Musselburgh, 14 February)
Has been chasing with limited success, but this return to hurdles for the first time in 12 months almost did the trick.
Dutch Canyon (18-1), racing with gusto, strode to the front halfway down the back straight and kept on gamely once headed by strong-travelling Nefyn Bay.
Nick Alexander can find his eight-year-old a similar race up north.
KNOW THE SCORE
(Towcester, 14 February)
Off for 15 months since landing an Irish point on his only start before switching to David Pipe, Know The Score was clearly ‘expected’ in this bumper.
Tom Scudamore was always happy on the 1-2 favourite and there was a 13 lengths gap back to the runner-up as he galloped on resolutely.
Still only five, this son of Flemensfirth could be useful.
(Kelso, 15 February)
Scored previously over 2m 3f at Catterick, getting on top close home. and this sharp two miles proved a slightly inadequate test.
He still ran a race full of merit, mounting his challenge from two out before finding Taxmeifyoucan’s superior Flat speed too potent a weapon.
Sam’s Gunner was conceding 9lb to Keith Dalgleish’s dual-purpose winner and still looked a bit inexperienced under pressure.
(Newcastle, 16 February)
Given his proven track record training quality horses on both codes, it remains something of a mystery why Mark Tompkins has been languishing in relative obscurity for the past few seasons.
There have been signs lately of a welcome renaissance at a modest level and he has something to look forward to in Velvet Vision.
The filly was sent off an unconsidered 66-1 shot but travelled supremely well under Paul Mulrennan in this one-mile fillies’ novice stakes.
Velvet Vision wasn’t knocked about once well-backed Lumi had pinched a vital few lengths a furlong out and she can only improve for the experience.
(Ascot, 17 February)
Ignored in the betting (33-1) but wasn’t beaten too far in sixth spot behind Ballyheigue Bay in this competitive 2m 3f handicap hurdle.
Skewiff lifted a novice hurdle at Ffos Las last June on a sound surface and Evan Williams’s mare is crying out for some decent ground.
A mark of 115 is surely workable.
(Kempton, 17 February)
Having her first start since August following a switch from Ger Lyons to Archie Watson and Black Sails offered plenty of encouragement for the season ahead.
She was a bit too keen for her own good but stuck on steadily into second spot being Godolphin good thing Tribal Quest.
The winner clocked a decent time, so this was a fine UK introduction.