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.
GOSDEN UNLEASHES ANOTHER POTENTIAL STAR IN BENGAL
(Kempton, 14 November)
Didn’t show an awful lot when running in the colours of Sir Alex Ferguson and Fred Done, but his latest connections will draw encouragement from this battling second to heavily-backed Caspar The Cub. Adam Kirby drove Grand Inquisitor into a brief lead two out but his mount had no answer as the favourite cruised past. To his credit, however, Grand Inquisitor found a second wind and gave Caspar The Cub’s many backers kittens when closing through the final 100 yards.
(Cheltenham, 16 November)
Neil Mulholland’s five-year-old was the subject of sustained support in the novices’ handicap hurdle but couldn’t peg back trailblazer Red Hot Chilly. My Brother was settled well off the pace by Noel Fehily before taking closer order on the run to two out. Although he was gaining hand over fist up the hill, My Brother probably found this two-mile trip over the sharp Old Course didn’t play entirely to his strengths.
STAR OF BENGAL
(Wolverhampton, 17 November)
John Gosden often uses the Tapeta at Wolverhampton as an important stepping stone for his young horses and Star Of Bengal appears destined for much better things after this 10 lengths rout. The colt’s wide draw was no hindrance, with Nicky Mackay securing a perfect pitch on the heels of the leaders before giving Star of Bengal his head racing off the home bend. His mount fairly powered clear in the extended 1m1f maiden and despite the paucity of the opposition, he is one to note in higher grade.
(Cheltenham, 17 November)
The pace was fast and furious in the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase, with impressive winner Rock The Kasbah dipping under standard. Calett Mad ran a stormer for Nigel Twiston-Davies on only his third start over fences, jumping well until seemingly finding this 3m3f distance a little too onerous and fading into fifth. A hurdle winner over three miles at Cheltenham last October, Calett Mad is a six-year-old with time on his side.
(Wetherby, 17 November)
Made quite hard work of winning at Fakenham at the end of October but probably improved in finishing a close third to Kajaki and Tight Call in this Class 2 Introductory Hurdle. Having his second start for Olly Murphy, Skandiburg would have finished a bit closer but for clattering the last flight and could easily progress again.
(Cheltenham, 18 November)
Having his first run in 220 days following a wind procedure, Nube Negra faded out of contention in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle after holding a promising position on the home turn. Dan Skelton’s gelding scored on softer ground last season before running third in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in March and as the only four-year-old in the field, this was a very respectable return to action.