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.
DE BROMHEAD'S NEWCOMER AVENIR LOOKED A NATURAL OVER TIMBER
Henry de Bromhead has been a beneficiary of the Gigginstown/Mullins discord and his horses are so hot at the moment he could keep Dublin Castle warm.
His yard has inherited a talented individual in ex-bumper winner Avenir D’Une Vie and the big horse looked a natural on his hurdles debut, drawing clear effortlessly from Aussie Reigns.
This two-mile trip was a bare minimum and he clearly handles testing conditions very well.
Ploughed through the mud to score at Taunton back in January but handled this sounder surface well enough.
Although Winning Spark led two out he had no answer when tackled by Paul Nicholls’s Brelan D’As, but the nine-year-old still had Hint Of Mint 15 lengths adrift in third.
This was his first run in 196 days and offered plenty of encouragement for the season ahead.
Started off life in the point-to-point field with Gordon Elliott (made Sunday’s highly-rated Punchestown bumper winner Samcro work hard at Monksgrange) and has made a sparkling start under Rules for Colin Tizzard, making it two wins from two starts in this extended 2m 5f novices’ hurdle.
Elegant Escape stepped up on his Chepstow debut victory 15 days earlier, answering Tom Scudamore’s every call as warm favourite Laser Light threw down a sustained challenge from two out.
Showed plenty of resolution when splitting Finula and The Caller, having set a strong gallop from flagfall.
Ben Pauling’s five-year-old broke fellow pacesetter The Blue Bomber a long way from home and looked a sitting duck turning for home.
However, Calva D’honore refused to throw in the towel and big-spending owners Paul and Clare Rooney look assured of some fun with this fella.
Rather lost his way over fences and this switch to hurdles on soft ground certainly worked the oracle.
Lucinda Russell’s Scottish raider was sent off a 33-1 rag but he travelled up strongly in the straight, briefly hitting the front before favourite Black Ivory re-asserted over the last.
If this doesn’t prove to be a flash in the pan, Vengeur De Guye should pick up a similar contest up north.
Some real speedsters lined up for this valuable Class 2 contest over the minimum trip and Guishan did well under the circumstances to finish sixth behind Encore d’Or.
Mick Appleby’s mare, a real Southwell specialist in the past off a lower mark, is much better served by six furlongs and she probably raced on the slowest part of the track down on the rail.
With her jockey unable to claim his full allowance due to overweight, Guishan performed with credit and she has been lightly campaigned since scoring twice in June, at Newmarket and Haydock.
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