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.
MUNHAMEK CAN BUILD ON FANTASTIC HAYDOCK EFFORT
(Windsor, 20 May)
A dual Chelmsford City scorer over his specialist 6f trip during the winter, Danzan proved he was no mug on the turf either, with a fine second to favourite Equitation in a tight finish.
Andrew Balding’s four-year-old showed speed to lead and rallied when headed at halfway to regain the advantage entering the final furlong. Danzan could produce no extra when headed close home but he was trying to concede 11lb to the market leader.
(Sandown, May 23)
This was a solid if unspectacular return to action following a 222-day absence. Ryan Moore had to manoeuvre his mount for a clear run from the two-furlong marker and although no match for handsome winner King Of Comedy in this Listed contest, Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius (third) put down a solid marker for the year ahead.
The Khalid Abdullah-owned colt enjoyed a fruitful first season, beating Bangkok on debut at Newmarket and also scoring at Doncaster the following month. A fourth behind Too Darn Hot in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes brought down the curtain on his rookie campaign and he will improve for this initial outing.
(Goodwood, 23 May)
Promoting the well-established colours of owner/breeder Kirsten Rausing, Aloe Vera powered to victory in the 1m 2f Height Of Fashion Stakes, with the promise of even better to come.
Ralph Beckett wasted little time in elevating Aloe Vera in class following a winning debut at Chepstow less than three weeks earlier and his filly proved very strong at the finish, surging three lengths clear of favourite Shambolic under a confident Harry Bentley ride.
LOOK OUT LOUIS
(Haydock, 24 May)
Tim Easterby and the ever-reliable David Allan continue to mop up winners in the north and Look Out Louis notched a double inside a fortnight. The four-year-old struck the front two out and held on by a neck in this Class 4 handicap over six furlongs, supplementing his Thirsk victory on a slower surface.
Look Out Louis is a typically progressive type from this excellent yard.
(Haydock, 25 May)
The Amix Silver Bowl, a mile handicap for three-year-olds, traditionally throws up a hatful of future winners and it is unlikely this year’s renewal will prove an exception to the rule. It is often a rough-house as riders jostle for position before the bend and favourite Awe suffered in a barging-match through the first furlong.
Missing all the trouble out in front was Munhamek, sporting the familiar lime green colours of owner John Fretwell, with Duran Fentiman making full use of his mount’s low weight. This big pot looked to be in safe keeping as Munhamek held a significant advantage at the furlong pole, only for John Gosden’s 20-1 shot Beatboxer to run him down in the final strides.
This changing scenario must have been agony to watch for Munhamek’s trainer Ivan Furtado but he has done a magnificent job with the gelding, formerly with Charlie Hills (unraced). Munhamek overcame a wide draw (13) to score over seven furlongs at Kempton on debut in March and added to that tally in a one-mile Novice Stakes at Thirsk.
He was held up at Kempton so is no out-and-out front-runner and there could be a nice handicap to be plundered this summer.
(York, 25 May)
David Griffiths again proved himself a master-trainer of sprinters as the rejuvenated Duke Of Firenze captured this William Hill-sponsored cavalry charge. A high draw proved a significant advantage with the first five home berthed in stalls 19, 16, 15, 14 and 18, so Harome’s performance in finishing sixth from stall one is well worth recording.
Nicola Currie stuck towards the far rail and helped force the pace until Harome faded through the final furlong. Roger Fell’s five-year-old scored on fast ground at Haydock and York last June/July and has dropped to his old winning mark.