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.
JAVA ROSE ATR Tracker
(Warwick, 19th March)
Sent off an unconsidered 20-1 rag for this 2m 5f maiden but gave supporters of warm order Ulzana's Raid a few anxious moments before the favourite asserted over the final flight. Java Rose, now in the care of Charlie Longsdon, won a weak Chepstow maiden for Henry Candy last June on good to firm ground, so clearly drying conditions were helpful.
ALUTIQ ATR Tracker
(Lingfield, 22nd March)
Eve Johnson Houghton's filly, running in the Qatar Racing silks, forfeited a good draw in stall four in this seven-furlong Listed event won by well-touted Ertijaal. Jamie Spencer eventually delivered his challenge widest of all off the home bend and Alutiq ran much better than her seventh place would suggest. This was her first run since beating Oriental Relation at Kempton 66 days ago and she would be of obvious interest tackling her own sex.
AMERICAN HOPE ATR Tracker
(Lingfield, 22nd March)
Chased home Ertijaal in the same event contested by Alutiq and put down a marker for the future. A winner at Dundalk in December, American Hope ran on stoutly and is bred to improve over a bit further than this sharp, seven-furlong trip.
DESOTO COUNTY ATR Tracker
(Bangor, 22nd March)
Started favourite for this novice hurdle (rated 120) but just failed to match strides with Irish Cavalier. The winner is rated 135, so Donald McCain's gelding should be competitive when sent handicapping. Desoto County had scored with a bit in hand three weeks earlier at Kelso and remains in decent nick.
GAITWAY ATR Tracker
(Newbury, 22nd March)
There was a strong word for favourite Tea For Two in this bumper but he couldn't contain Nicky Henderson's newcomer Gaitway. The four-year-old son of Medicean clearly has an engine and you would have needed a Jodrell Bank telescope to locate the distant third horse. Looks exciting.
LIFE AND TIMES ATR Tracker
(Wolverhampton, 24th March)
Mark Johnston's six-year-old has had a chequered career to say the least - beaten 32 lengths in a Market Rasen hurdle earlier in his career and finishing last of 10, beaten 50 lengths, when last seen at Pontefract in October - but he was well backed to land this modest handicap. Life And Times duly delivered, beating last-time-out scorer My Single Malt, despite finding plenty of trouble. He may have belatedly turned the corner.
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