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.
TEN TO FOLLOW FROM ROYAL ASCOT 2017
With three track records falling on a sweltering afternoon, it was clear the ground was lightning quick and this was a negative for Brother Bear.
The winner of a Listed event on soft ground at the Curragh the previous month, Brother Bear was sent off favourite and emerged with great credit in fourth.
Jessica Harington’s imposing colt showed fine early speed to lead but drifted off a true line under pressure, probably feeling the ground.
Brother Bear rallied to finish fourth to Rajasingle and he remains a potentially top-grade juvenile.
Stall one was definitely a coffin box as a draw bias emerged on the straight course following overnight watering and Mrs Gallagher deserved better than her finishing position of 11th.
Silvestre De Sousa had her out sharply and, racing keenly and possibly a shade freely, led the smaller far side group until hanging left at the furlong pole.
The stands’ side runners, led home by the very impressive Heartache, dominated the finish, with Mrs Gallagher doing best of those drawn in single figures.
Willie Jarvis’s daughter of Oasis Dream is bred to stay a bit further but possesses bags of speed.
This was a crackerjack of a race with another Ballydoyle Iron Horse, Highland Reel, taking the fully deserved plaudits.
It paid to race handily as Scottish set a brisk tempo and Queen’s Trust was at a serious disadvantage after being squeezed out by Mekhtaal shortly after the start and trailing the field.
Sir Michael Stoute’s filly stays 1m 4f so it was no surprise to see her keeping on strongly into fourth, right on the heels of the principals, and she looks back on track after a disappointing effort at York.
This wasn’t Olivier Peslier’s finest moment (although the Gallic great atoned on Coronet in the Ribblesdale Stakes).
Off the track for 125 days following an abortive winter trip to Dubai, Master The World gave it a good shot from a poor draw in stall eight.
Pat Dobbs anchored his mount right at the back of the cavalry charge and there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in the heatwave of him ever making up so much ground.
To his credit, Master The World worked his way into eighth position and if the handicapper relents just a little he will become competitive again following a two-year absence from the winner’s circle.
Although a running-on fifth in the Investec Derby, Benbatl was dropped two furlongs in trip for this very strong Group 3 contest.
Oisin Murphy enjoyed a perfect trip in fourth on Benbatl as Taj Mahal set a lively tempo and he propelled his mount for home two out, having enough up his sleeve to hold heavily-backed Orderofthegarter’s final flourish.
Saeed Bin Suroor clearly had no qualms about the 1m 2f distance as Benbatl came into the race with an entry in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, so the colt has plenty of options.
Atty Persse, Frankel’s first Royal Ascot scalp, was a most impressive winner of this competitive Class 2 contest but Bin Battuta hinted there was a decent handicap to be won by this son of Dubawi.
Wearing a visor for the first time, he was restrained on the rails by Pat Cosgrave and was stone last turning for home before making late headway into eighth.
Bin Battuta has been a tad disappointing since accounting for First Nation and Khalidi at Doncaster’s Lincoln fixture but very fast summer ground may not be ideal.
He is worth a second glance back on an easier surface.
Following back-to-back successes at Epsom and Chelmsford City over ten furlongs, Drochaid was stepped up in trip by Andrew Balding.
Oisin Murphy assumed a handy position just behind the principals but Drochaid came under pressure early in the straight as the brilliant Atty Persse powered clear.
Despite being squeezed for room over a furlong out, Drochaid ran on commendably to grab fourth spot and this opens up more 1m 4f opportunities.
Reappeared only 13 days after making her debut (third) at Newmarket in a novice stakes and Jeremy Noseda’s filly ran a cracker to fill the minor berth behind speedball Different League and Alpha Centauri, the pair having the race to themselves charging along the far rail.
Take Me With You ‘won’ her individual race on the stands’ side and her conqueror at Newmarket, Charlie Appleby’s hotpot Glorious Journey, is clearly pretty smart.
Swerved an engagement in the King George V to wait for this Group 2 over the two-furlong longer distance and emerged with credit in seventh spot behind Stradivarius.
Mister Manduro was a major drifter in the market (25-1) but held every chance as the field fanned across the track off the bend.
He couldn’t engage a change of gear after threatening two out and Mark Johnston will find him a less demanding assignment somewhere along the line this season.
Roger Charlton’s six-year-old was returning from a 238-day absence but enjoyed no luck with the draw.
The first bend looms quickly from the 1m 2f start and Ayrad was all at sea out in stall 14, consequently holding a pretty useless position turning for home.
Ryan Moore’s mount stuck on into fifth spot without being knocked about and this will have smoothed off the rough edges.
Ayrad finished a close second in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood last July but he also holds an entry in the John Smith’s Cup at York.