Eyecatchers

Greatwood Handicap hero Elgin (10-1) plus Master The World (10-1), Wotzizname (6-1), Sainte Ladylime (11-4) and Jukebox Jive (4-5) were previous Eyecatchers to lighten the bookies’ satchels last week and form expert Alan Thomson has flagged up six to follow from Cheltenham’s November Meeting.

  • Tuesday 21 November
  • Blog
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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.

SIX TO FOLLOW FROM THE NOVEMBER MEETING

OXWICH BAY
(Cheltenham, 17 November)

Found only in-form Magic Dancer too strong in this 2m novices’ handicap hurdle, making headway off the home turn to chase the impressive winner.

Evan Williams’s five-year-old also finished second-best seven days previously at Warwick and it is only as matter of time before Oxwich Bay supplements his Sedgefield bumper success 12 months ago.

DUELING BANJOS
(Cheltenham, 17 November)

Sent off favourite for this gruelling 3m 1f amateur riders’ handicap chase but Kim Bailey’s gelding didn’t do his prospects any good with a mistake at the water jump.

Jamie Codd made headway on the outside to deliver a short-lived challenge off the home turn, with Dueling Banjos folding quite tamely up the hill.

He might be better served by a flatter track.

BALLYALTON
(Cheltenham, 18 November)

Ran a cracker to be fourth in the BetVictor Gold Cup.

A previous winner of a novices’ handicap chase at the 2016 Cheltenham festival, Ballyalton made a satisfactory return from a massive 569-day absence to run sixth to Bags Groove in a hurdle contest at Aintree which is working out exceptionally well.

In the Cheltenham feature, Tom O’Brien always had his mount well positioned just behind the leaders but Ballyalton couldn’t find a turn of foot on the heavy ground to mount a serious challenge.

DIABLE DE SIVOLA
(Cheltenham, 18 November)

Nick Williams’ gelding continued his excellent record at Cheltenham, running fourth to trailblazing winner Coole Cody in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle.

The four-year-old had finished fifth to stablemate Flying Tiger in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in March, and chased home Defi Du Seuil in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at this meeting 12 months ago.

Diable De Sivola is developing into a solid performer at this level.
 
VICENTE
(Cheltenham, 18 November)

The dual Scottish Grand National winner had previously shown his best form on a sounder surface, so this was a terrific effort in defeat.
Vicente relished this 3m 3f trip and closed to within a neck of winner Perfect Candidate, rallying gamely after making an error at the final obstacle.

He has entries at Newbury and Aintree in the coming weeks but Paul Nicholls is favouring the latter as he is keen to give Vicente experience of the Grand National fences before another crack at the big one in April (fell first last time).

LIP SERVICE
(Cheltenham, 19 November)

Having his first run for Fergal O’Brien since a switch from Tony Martin and connections will have been happy enough with this promising comeback run in fourth behind impressive Melrose Boy.

Lip Service, running in the well-known Malcolm Denmark checks, got behind early and could never strike a blow, despite staying on well.
The gelding scored on good ground over fences in Ireland, so there are options available.

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