WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
RIPON SPECIALIST MUTAMADED CAN GAIN COMPENSATION FOR UNLUCKY BELL-RINGER RUN
LOCH NESS MONSTER
(Hamilton, 18 July)
His inability to respond adroitly to his rider’s urgings cost Loch Ness Monster victory as he hit top gear a few strides too late to catch in-form Harvey Dent.
The stiff finish certainly suited his style of racing and it would be no surprise to see him back here later in the season when the ground is less lively.
He had faded over 1m 3f at Kempton previously but posted a fine fifth to History Writer at Sandown over a shorter trip.
PADDY THE CHEF
(Chepstow, 18 July)
A winner at Nottingham on quick ground last July off a 10lb higher mark, it was no real surprise to see Paddy The Chef being nibbled in the market for this apprentices’ handicap.
Things didn’t go entirely to plan, however, as he was slowly away before assuming a stalking role in third.
In the straight, William Greatrex made a bold, but ultimately rash, move to squeeze through a narrow gap on the rail which was quickly sealed off by William Carver aboard winner Seaborn.
That put paid to Paddy The Chef’s chance but he stayed on again to finish sixth, not beaten far, suggesting his turn may well be close at hand in a modest handicap.
(Newmarket, 20 July)
Durrell had taken the measure of Ironclad at Chelmsford City in June and the pair produced an exciting climax in this re-match on turf.
With Ironclad 3lb better off they ran right up to their marks, with Durrell having to give best (pair clear).
Daniel Muscutt had little option but to take the tugging Durrell to the front and James Fanshawe’s gelding rallied bravely when headed.
The front two are worth following under similar conditions.
(Ripon, 20 July)
This was X-certificate viewing for backers of course specialist Mutamaded, with Jimmy Sullivan trapped on the far rail throughout the final two furlongs of the Ripon Bell-Ringer Handicap.
Ruth Carr’s gelding had to settle for fifth behind Everything For You, with extra left in the tank.
All three career victories have come at Ripon and his close second to well-regarded Alright Sunshine here five days earlier merely confirmed his current wellbeing.
FOX DUTY FREE
(Newbury, 20 July)
Favourite backers were cursing their luck when Fox Duty Free was knocked almost sideways by the errant Fantasy Believer exiting the stalls.
Silvestre De Sousa gave his mount time to recover and had plenty of ground to make up when switching Andrew Balding’s debutante for some clear daylight.
(Redcar, 21 July)
Adrian Nicholls stepped Muhallab up to seven furlongs from sprint distances for the first time and it almost paid an instant dividend as his gelding pushed Firsteen all the way to the line.
This was an improved effort on his ninth career start and the son of War Command can exploit his low rating in the near future.