WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
DEEPSAND ATR Tracker
(Thirsk, 17 June)
Fair hurdler on his day and no back number on the level either when caught in the right mood. The five-year-old doesn't look the easiest ride but he didn't do a lot wrong when slightly squeezed up in third by Dolphin Village and Tepmokea close home. Deepsand's mark of 77 doesn't allow a lot of leeway but he looks up to nicking a northern middle-distance handicap now that he appears to be running back into form.
JUNGLE CAT ATR Tracker
(Royal Ascot, 17 June)
No match for exciting juvenile The Wow Signal in the Coventry Stakes, but Jungle Cat ran a splendid race in third. Mark Johnston's colt had been beaten out of sight by the same horse on his debut at Ayr but showed that puzzling performance was all wrong when winning next time at Goodwood. This was an even better effort and there may be a shade more improvement to come..
BELGIAN BILL ATR Tracker
(Royal Ascot, 18 June)
Would have gone very close to repeating last year's surprise victory in the Hunt Cup granted a rub of the green from the two-furlong pole. The six-year-old travelled like a dream from a perfect pitch but kept running up cul-de-sacs every time his jockey searched for racing room. Backed from 20s down to 8-1, Belgian Bill was clearly primed for the big occasion and seventh spot did him no justice.
FIRST FLIGHT ATR Tracker
(Royal Ascot, 19 June)
Handed a nightmare draw in stall one, the Godolphin colt acquitted himself well in ninth behind Britannia Handicap victor Born In Bombay. First Flight had put down a marker three weeks earlier when running third to Chatez and he hasn't a lot of mileage on the clock.
PRETZEL ATR Tracker
(Ayr, 21 June)
Toyed with some inferior opposition and Roger Varian's New Approach colt goes from strength-to-strength after only three career starts. Pretzel's close second to Muteela at Newmarket was well advertised when the winner scraped home in the Sandringham Handicap and the Normandie Stud have produced another exciting individual.
BEAT THE TIDE ATR Tracker
(Thirsk, 23 June)
Well supported and, not for the first time, looked the likeliest winner from two furlongs out, only to be denied in a driving finish by stout stayer Longshadow. Michael Dods should be able to pick up a similar long-distance handicap, athough his loyal backers may be running out of patience (and funds). Give him the benefit of the doubt one more time.
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