Eyecatchers

Form expert Rhys Williams has eight more horses for you to add to your ATR Tracker, mixing some of the recent flat and jumps action in Britain and Ireland.

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Welcome to the attheraces.com Eyecatchers column. Every week Rhys Williams will pinpoint horses primed to strike in the next few weeks, if not days. Remember, you can add Rhys's weekly updates to your ATR Tracker.

Sapphire Jubilee To Improve From Wolverhampton Nightmare

ARAMIS GREY

2nd - Betway Novice Stakes, Tuesday 11th August

Aramis Grey showed some promise on her first two starts and did so once again at Lingfield in a race that wasn’t run to suit. In a slowly run race, she had to be nudged along intermittently in last place in the early stages and was still last of a tightly packed field with a furlong to go. Switched outside, she ran on well under hands and heels to finish second without ever troubling the winner.

A stronger run race and a step up in trip will see Aramis Grey in a better light and I think she can prove herself to be better than her opening rating of 62.

CABOY

4th - Thank You Auto Services Perth Handicap Hurdle, Tuesday 11th August

Caboy was quite inconsistent but showed a fairly good level of ability in France and having been bought for €16,000 at last year’s Arqana Summer Sale, he ran a promising race on his first start for Lucinda Russell after a 541-day absence at Perth.

He travelled well in midfield for much of the three-mile contest and made headway going strongly towards the end of the back straight. He was in a share of second at two out but after hitting that hurdle he started to weaken a little on the long run to the last and finished fourth, beaten 10¼ lengths.

The way Caboy travelled through the race suggests that he still retains the ability that he showed in France. I think it was more likely fitness rather than a lack of stamina which caused him to drop away late on and with improvement likely to come from this, he may not be long in getting off the mark in Britain.

THE DEFIANT

2nd - Final Furlong Podcast Handicap, Wednesday 12th August

Early speed is a regular feature of The Defiant’s performances and that was no different on his latest start at Wolverhampton. Having broken well and got to the inside rail in front, he raced keenly through the first two furlongs and then extended his lead significantly in the third furlong when allowed to stride on.

Turning into the straight with a big lead, he was pushed along and started to drift right. He continued to wander as he began to tire and was passed late on by Wade’s Magic.

As this scenario has happened before with The Defiant there is clearly a worry he will repeat it over and over again. However, after a few disappointing runs he showed more on his previous run at Musselburgh when the ground may have been a bit softer than ideal and again in this race and when returning to a quicker all weather surface or quick ground on turf, I think he can add to his three victories.

SAPPHIRE JUBILEE

6th - Final Furlong Podcast Handicap, Wednesday 12th August

Sapphire Jubilee made all when winning on her previous start at Newcastle but it was a different story on her return to the track after just over a year off at Wolverhampton. A bit awkwardly away from stall 10, she was in danger of being extremely wide going into the bend and was dropped in to race towards the back of the field.

She was then hampered and ended up racing about 6 wide for most of the bend, turning into the straight in second last place. She stayed on well under pressure but couldn’t put in a significant challenge and finished sixth.

Considering the bad draw, poor start and awful trip, this wasn’t a bad run from Sapphire Jubilee on her comeback and the handicapper has generously dropped her 2lb to 58, a mark off which I think she can be successful under more favourable circumstances.  

QUATTROELLE

3rd - Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden (Plus 10 Race), Thursday 13th August

Quattroelle was sent off at 66-1 for her debut at Leopardstown but ran far better than the market predicted. Having broken well, she was restrained to race in midfield for the first half of the race and was travelling very strongly shortly before turning into the straight.

However, when Michael Hussey looked for a gap early in the straight the path was blocked on a few occasions. She was finally able to squeeze through a gap with just under a furlong to go and she ran on strongly, while drifting slightly left, to finish third beaten three quarters of a length and then galloped out well after the line.

This was an encouraging start to Quattroelle’s career and this run showed they have options when it comes to distance as she travelled so well through the race that a drop back to 6f is plausible while her strength at the finish suggests that a mile would be within her range at this stage too.

MAEVE'S MEMORY

5th - Trevor Woods Memorial Fillies’ Novice Stakes (Plus 10/GBB Race), Friday 14th August

Maeve’s Memory had issues at the start on her second start at Beverley but there was no repeat of that at Pontefract on her latest start where she shaped well. Drawn in stall 1, she showed plenty of speed to lead and still held a lead of just over a length with two furlongs to go. She responded well to pressure but once headed just over a furlong out, she faded away to finish fifth beaten 6½ lengths.

Maeve’s Memory had been dropped back to 5f at Beverley after weakening in the closing stages on her debut over 6f at Ripon. Having returned to 6f on this occasion, I think she showed that 5f is currently a more suitable distance for her and an opening mark of 60 could underrate her ability over that distance.

MIRANN

3rd - Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Red God” Handicap (Premier Handicap), Saturday 15th August

Mirann has already run over a range of distances in Ireland having won over 1m1½f at Gowran before finishing second in the Ebor Trial at the Curragh over 1m6f. Dropped back to 1m2½f for his latest start at Dundalk, he once again ran well in defeat on a surface that was much slower than the official standard and had plenty of kickback.

Dropped out in last place, he was still in that position turning into the home straight. Nudged along and moved towards the outside, he gradually started to stay on and under stronger pressure he ran on very well in the last furlong to finish 1¾ lengths behind the winner in third.

I think Mirann had plenty go against him in this race and his performance can be upgraded. A return to a longer trip will suit and the €125,000 premier handicap over just short of 1m5f at Leopardstown on 12th September looks an obvious target. 

GHALYOON

2nd - Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap, Saturday 15th August

Ghalyoon has had a stop-start career but showed plenty of ability in both starts last year when chasing home subsequent Falmouth winner Nazeef and beating Posted and he shaped very promisingly on his return after a 399-day break at Doncaster.

He initially took a few strides to pick up the bridle before racing very keenly under restraint in a slowly run race. He was about four lengths behind the leader and pushed along with two furlongs to go and gradually gained ground from that point all the way to the line but couldn’t quite catch Magical Wish and was beaten a neck.

Given how keen he was in the first half of the race and that he was poorly positioned given the pace, this was a highly encouraging performance from Ghalyoon and if he can be a more frequent visitor to a racecourse from now on, he has the potential to be better than his rating of 88.

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