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.
GARDINERS HILL CAN COMPLETE QUICK HAT-TRICK IF LINING UP AT WEEKEND
Ex-Irish pointer is gradually finding his feet for Dan Skelton, building on a modest course effort here in December, over a longer trip, to run a very respectable second to Nicky Henderson’s Beyond Deceit.
Shantou Rock took a strong grip and Bridget Andrews wisely allowed her mount to stride out, establishing a substantial lead turning out of the back straight.
Although eventually collared by the strong-travelling winner, Shantou Rock had the others well beaten and it will be interesting to see how the handicapper assesses this run, the gelding’s third in the UK.
Has returned from a 174-day absence in rampant form for David Rees, winning comfortably off a basement mark at Hereford nine days earlier over 3m1f before defying a 7lb penalty with authority over this shorter trip.
Both victories came on soft ground and Gardiners Hill could well complete a quick hat-trick if fulfilling an engagement at Uttoxeter on Saturday.
Totally exposed but always likely to pop up in all-weather sprints during the winter, having notched victories at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford City.
Zac Brown showed his hallmark early speed to help force a fast pace, staying on well when headed by Kasbah to finish third.
The principals clocked a good time and winners should come out of this event.
Hadn’t beaten a single horse in two career starts but someone had it right off as Scuzeme was hammered late on in the betting.
Returning from a 197-day absence since finishing last in a York maiden, David Barron’s three-year-old travelled like a dream, picking off pacesetter School Run with ridiculous ease at the furlong pole.
Scuzeme will stay further than this five-furlong trip and should be followed.
Continues to give Elite Racing Club members a lot of pleasure, having notched back-to-back victories at Newcastle and Kempton.
Elgin faced a tall order conceding 3lb to the very smart Neon Wolf and, although no match for the winner, he lost little in defeat.
Alan King’s gelding probably doesn’t want the ground too soft and this fine specimen of a horse should make up into a decent handicapper in due course.
Held a prominent position in the market behind well-touted favourite and stablemate Heartbreak City in the Coral.ie Hurdle and with a bit more luck in running would have gone close to winning.
Held up in the rear, Golden Spear hugged the inside all the way round and, almost inevitably, met a bit of trouble in running before staying on into third.
Golden Spear had run well (fourth) behind Brain Power at Ascot before Christmas, having landed valuable handicaps on the flat at Leopardstown and Galway, as well as running fifth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
Still only six years of age, Golden Spear remains a force to be reckoned with in strongly-run handicaps.