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.
LAND OF LEGENDS CAN MAKE UP INTO A SMART HANDICAPPER
LAND OF LEGENDS
(Yarmouth, 23 April)
The Saeed bin Suroor yard is running into form and his three-year-old colt Land Of Legends made odds-on backers sweat until worn down close home by John Gosden’s favourite King Of Comedy (pair clear).
The winner’s head carriage isn’t pretty but he dipped under standard, suggesting this may have been a better race than it looked at first glance.
The first two can make up into smart handicappers.
KING OF TONGA
(Beverley, 25 April)
Richard Fahey’s gelding is proving very consistent (3-1-2-3-2 from five runs) and just lost out on the nod following a ding-dong tussle with Motafaawit.
King Of Tonga showed a fine attitude when brought under pressure by Paul Hanagan, handling the quick ground on the back of his Redcar victory over Rathbone last summer on good to soft.
The principals had the race to themselves through the final furlong.
(Sandown, 26 April)
An easy winner on soft ground at Haydock last autumn, Sparkle Roll encountered very different terrain in this fillies’ Novice Stakes.
Mindful of the slick track, Oisin Murphy gave his mount the kid gloves treatment before pushing her two lengths clear of market rival King Power, conceding 7lb all round.
Sparkle Roll holds an Investec Oaks entry and a more forgiving surface at Epsom would make her an interesting outsider.
(Leicester, 27 April)
A day to remember for 7lb apprentice Laura Coughlan, riding a double for her stalwart supporter David Loughnane.
Last Page’s prospects didn’t look bright as he missed the kick and was being scrubbed along at an early stage.
Equipped with a hood for the first time, Last Page gradually reduced the deficit, hitting the front 100 yards out and finishing strongly.
The double came up in totally contrasting fashion as favourite False Id took a merciless grip before being allowed to stride out, coming home in splendid isolation.
(Wolverhampton, 27 April)
Jim Crowley gave the imposing grey a fine ride from a potentially awkward draw in stall 13, tracking market rival Emirates Knight into the straight before pouncing in the final few strides.
Sent off 16-1 when a promising third at Lingfield on debut in November, the money was down on Muraad in this extended one-mile Novice Stakes and with the first two drawing 11 lengths clear of the third, this was probably a decent contest.
The first two are worth following in handicaps.
(Wetherby 28 April)
Mick Easterby’s gelding is without a victory in two years but has slipped to his last winning mark (78).
Roller often goes well fresh so, returning from a 169-day absence, his sixth to in-form Saisons D’Or was slightly disappointing.
Mick Easterby has waited patiently for Roller’s rating to ease and it would be no surprise to see the six-year-old land a bit of a touch in the weeks ahead.