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.
GAS MONKEY IS VERY CONSISTENT AT MODEST CLASS 6 LEVEL
(Kempton, 16 January)
Regular rider Shelley Birkett had to extricate Gas Monkey from a tight spot over a furlong out before throwing down a determined challenge to narrow winner Cashel.
In-form Cape Greco was close-up in third, with the principals drawing well clear of the pack, and Gas Monkey, a course and distance winner last April, is very consistent at this modest Class 6 level.
(Kempton, 18 January)
Made a winning debut here in November before flopping at Lingfield earlier this month, so had something to prove.
Andrew Balding turned him out fairly quickly 13 days after that disappointing effort and Rectory Road clearly appreciated this more galloping track, stretching clear for an emphatic victory in the 7f 32Red Casino Novice Stakes.
David Probert had no problem finding a midfield slot from a wide draw and his mount produced a telling turn of foot when switched left two out.
The three-year-old should develop into a nice handicapper.
(Ascot, 19 January)
Nicky Richards’ gelding got fairly close to Ballymoy at Haydock but could never lay a glove on the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding in this competitive handicap hurdle.
Brian Hughes settled Better Getalong off the early pace and his effort three out proved short-lived.
All four of Better Getalong’s victories have come in Scotland on soft/heavy and this less taxing ground probably found him out.
(Haydock, 19 January)
Oliver Greenall’s chaser is becoming a bit expensive to follow, although he did little wrong in chasing home Dicosimo.
Sent off 2-1 market leader, Zalvados was sticky at a couple of obstacles but seemed to run right up to his mark.
The six-year-old scored at Ludlow over hurdles at this time last year and his turn may be at hand.
(Exeter, 20 January)
Making his racecourse debut for Oliver Sherwood in the colours of Trevor Hemmings, Sammy Bill shaped with promise in this maiden hurdle.
The six-year-old came with a threatening run off the home bend but tended to drag his rider left under pressure before fading into fifth behind Chambard.
Sammy Bill will no doubt be brought along cannily by his trainer and there is something to work with on this evidence.
(Ayr, 20 January)
What a marvellous servant Tonto’s Spirit has been to Ken Slack, winning consistently on the Flat and over hurdles, and the seven-year-old made an excellent chasing debut here in chasing home 138-rated Destrier.
Wind surgery has clearly benefited Tonto’s Spirit as his three subsequent outings have resulted in a Cartmel victory followed by a solid third to smart hurdler Le Patriote.
This fine second to a useful chaser underlined his progressive profile.