Welcome to the attheraces.com Eyecatchers column. Every week Rhys Williams will pinpoint horses primed to strike in the next few weeks, if not days. Remember, you can add Rhys's weekly updates to your ATR Tracker.
ALARM GRABS THE ATTENTION ON DEBUT
2nd - Season Finale Fillies’ Handicap, Sandown, Wednesday 16th September
End Result was one of the handicap debutants in the last flat race at Sandown this season and she ran well in defeat while suggesting that there could be plenty of improvement to come in the long term. Having initially broken quite well and raced just behind the leaders, she was gradually restrained and ended up about three quarters of the way down the field, racing keenly in the process. Pushed along three furlongs out, she showed her inexperience by wandering around before finishing strongly under sterner pressure in the last furlong to finish second. I think the decision to restrain End Result so significantly in the early part of the race may have cost her victory.
She looks far from the finished product and as she develops mentally and physically, I think she could be open to a lot of improvement.
4th - Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden (Plus 10 Race), Naas, Thursday 17th September
Three horses with experience fought out the finish of the fillies’ maiden. Back in fourth was Alarm Call who fared best of the newcomers despite a troubled path. She was restrained through the early stages, eventually dropping back into last after two furlongs. She was still towards the back of the field with two furlongs to go and a wall of horses ahead of her. She finally got a clear run entering the final furlong and took off under hands and heels to finish fourth, which looked impossible a furlong out.
This was a highly eyecatching debut from Alarm Call and she will be tough to beat in a fillies’ maiden next time if getting a smoother run through the race.
7th - EBF Novice Stakes, Ayr, Thursday 17th September
Ravenscraig Castle finished a well held seventh on debut at Ayr but his performance suggested that there could be significant improvement to come. Squeezed up at the start, he was pushed along through the early stages in last place and raced very greenly. He continued to be on and off the bridle and was detached off the back of the main pack in last entering the straight. Having been put under strong pressure three furlongs out, he gradually stayed on and was beaten 5¾ lengths.
Although the bare performance is moderate, Ravenscraig Castle showed plenty of greenness throughout the race and he can be expected to improve next time before likely coming into his own over middle distances next season.
3rd - Dubai Duty Free Nursery Handicap, Newbury, Friday 18th September
Farasi Lane was well backed close to the off in this nursery and his backers were a little unfortunate to not collect. He was dropped out at the back of the field early on and was still there with three furlongs to go. Pushed along, he took a while to hit top gear but once put under stronger pressure a furlong out he ran on strongly and was only beaten half a length into third.
The first two home had been in those places from the start and the combination of the pace and tailwind played into their hands while Farasi Lane was at a disadvantage having to come from the back of the field. This was his first run after being gelded and that seems to have had a positive impact and it likely won’t be long before he gets off the mark.
2nd - Close Brothers Motor Finance EBF Stallions Fillies’ Novice Stakes (Plus 10/GBB Race), Newmarket, Saturday 19th September
Monsoon Moon had little trouble in justifying her very short price in this novice race. Finishing behind her in second was Haija who showed promise on her debut. Drawn furthest from the near rail, she was very awkwardly away and shifted sharply right. She soon recovered and raced in fourth, tracking the favourite, through the first half of the race. Pushed along with two furlongs to go, she ran on well under hands and heels without ever looking like challenging the winner and finished seven lengths clear of the third.
This was a tough task for Haija on her debut against a talented filly with experience and she performed admirably well in defeat. With that experience under her belt, she looks likely to get off the mark in the near future.
3rd - EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes, Chelmsford City, Sunday 20th September
Rearing as the stalls opened hampered Tampere’s chances on her debut at Lingfield 325 days prior to this run and she repeated those antics here. Having been slowly away she raced at the back of the field early on while the front three in the market separated themselves from the rest at the front. Tampere was still travelling well in the chasing group leaving the back straight and turning the final bend the plan seemed to be to follow Happy Times and only switch out once in the straight. This left Tampere a long way behind the leaders entering the straight and while she ran on very strongly late on, she could only finish 5¼ lengths behind the winner in third.
Considering the issue at the start, being poorly positioned and then only getting a clear run once in the straight, this was a promising effort from Tampere to chase home two rivals rated in the 80s. It is hoped that her stalls problems will gradually disappear with experience and she looks likely to make an impact over middle distances.
5th - Listowel Beginners Chase, Listowel, Monday 21st September
Offshore Oscar returned to the track after a 190-day break to make his chasing debut at Listowel. Held up towards the back of the field, his jumping lacked fluency and he often showed a tendency to jump out to the right on the first circuit. He started to move closer to the leaders early on the final circuit and was still travelling well on the run to 3 out. He was nudged along after jumping that fence and was unable to put in any significant challenge, coming home 13½ lengths behind the winner in fifth.
Considering some of the bad mistakes he made on the first circuit, that he frequently jumped out to the right on this left handed track and that he wasn’t given a hard time once his winning chance had gone in the closing stages, this was a fair chasing debut from Offshore Oscar. He may pick up a ratings restricted beginners chase on a right handed track or, given how poorly he jumped, they could run him back over hurdles off a mark of 98, the same rating that he finished a close second off in October 2018.
The Daley Express
4th - Visit attheraces.com Handicap, Wolverhampton, Monday 21st September
The Daley Express has been in poor form this season and has slipped down the ratings from 88 to 75 but he showed far more encouraging signs on his latest outing at Wolverhampton. Drawn widest of all, Josh Bryan couldn’t get him anywhere near the inside rail until taking him back into second last place leaving the back straight. He tracked the favourite through on the rail before being angled outside and pushed along entering the straight. He responded well to pressure and ran on into fourth, beaten 1¾ lengths.
This was the first sign of life from The Daley Express this season and given better luck with the draw, he looks capable of taking advantage of his slipping mark soon.