Previous Eyecatchers to win last week for Alan Thomson were Guishan (25-1), Talaayeb (9-1), Tangled (15-2), Sepal (7-2), Call To Mind (11-4), Hochfeld (9-4) and Lady Bergamot (9-4). Here, Alan has ten eyecatchers from York's Ebor Festival.

  • Tuesday 29 August
  • Blog
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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.


(Symphony Group Handicap, 23 August)

A proper 5f specialist for Nigel Tinkler and the mare had most of her rivals gasping for air as she blitzed a trail down the centre of the track. Thesme was at the end of her tether, however, when Desert Law swept past inside the final furlong, eventually just losing out to favourite Edward Lewis for second spot.

She should be worth watching out for at Doncaster where she finished second to Priceless in a Listed contest off a mark of 109 at last year’s St Leger meeting. Thesme was racing off 100 here, so is looking well treated if kept to handicap company.

(Tattersalls Acombe Stakes, 23 August)

This was one Ebor meeting Frankie Dettori will wish to forget but he gave James Garfield a cracking ride, just losing out on the nod to Wells Farhh Go after nicking a length out of the field at the furlong pole.

James Garfield, a winner at Doncaster on much quicker ground, handled this softer surface on day one and the colt’s previous third to Sound And Silence in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot was made to look even better when that winner scored again in Listed company later in the week.

(Fine EquinITy Handicap, 23 August)

Jim Goldie could do with a pick-me-up following the death of stable stalwart Jack Dexter and the retirement of popular Hawkeyethenoo, and there are better times ahead with the improving Euchen Glen.

A winner over two miles at Ascot’s Shergar Cup meeting only 11 days earlier, Euchen Glen did best of the hold-up horses here, running on stoutly to fill the minor placing behind Magic Circle and My Reward. Still only a four-year-old and with limited experience racing over two miles, Euchen Glen is developing into a smart stayer.

(Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes, 24 August)

Kevin Ryan’s colt was supported into favouritism to beat 18 rivals on the back of a course and distance success the previous month and Hey Jonesy can be considered an unlucky loser.

From his high draw Kevin Stott had no option but to race up the stands’ side and Hey Jonesy found himself isolated as he pulled clear of ‘his’ bunch. Meanwhile, there was a real race developing away to his left, with Tangled mastering Great Prospector inside the final 100 yards, but Hey Jonesy was less than a length adrift in third.

(Clipper Logistics Handicap, 24 August)

Found favour with punters for this mile contest, probably on the back of his fine second to Here Comes When at the Dante fixture in May, but he didn’t find quite as much as expected when switched to avoid trouble over a furlong out.

Admittedly, Chelsea Lad didn’t have much room to manoeuvre down on the far rail and stayed on into ninth spot behind back-to-form Flaming Spear. There could still be a decent handicap to be won with this talented four-year-old.

(British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap, 24 August)

A three-time winner last season for the late Alan Swinbank, Lavetta is running into form for new handler Sally Haynes. The five-year-old assumed a prominent position under Ben Curtis, racing slightly wide, but gradually dropped away when the pace reached fever pitch.

Lavetta had previously chased home useful Mitchum Swagger at Thirsk and wasn’t beaten too far here in seventh spot behind the admirably tough Lincoln Rocks. This effort at a loud price offered encouragement for the future.

(Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap, 25 August)

This was a typically competitive all-age 1m 4f handicap won in some style by Fidaawy but Al Neksh travelled well until his run flattened out under Frankie Dettori. William Haggas’s four-year-old, a winner over 10 furlongs at Yarmouth on his favoured quick ground last September, seemed to find this longer trip stretching his stamina to the very limit.

(Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap, 25 August)

Put firmly in his place by talented and progressive stablemate Mojito, but Battered did best of the rest on his first try at a mile. The William Haggas-trained three-year-old was up 5lb for a narrow victory at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on soft ground and there is scope for even more improvement from this blinkered customer.

TOR ATR Tracker
(Betfred Melrose Handicap, 26 August)

Set out to make all but the game was up early in the home straight when Tor found himself swamped by some classy individuals. Iain Jardine’s gelding would have preferred soft ground and this Chester winner on a easy surface has developed into a resolute staying handicapper, which is a bit of a surprise considering his sire, Orientor, was a very useful six-furlong sprinter for Jim Goldie.

The Melrose is one of the toughest three-year-old handicaps in the calendar and it is not difficult to envisage Tor rolling up at Ayr’s September meeting when he is likely to encounter a more suitable surface.

(Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap, 26 August)

Gave trouble at the start but got off on terms in this highly competitive 1m 2f contest. Nicholas T has enjoyed a fruitful season, winning over a mile at Ayr (twice) and Doncaster on his favoured good ground, but this step up in trip didn’t appear to suit the son of 2006 Arc winner Rail Link.

Callum Rodriguez moved Nicholas T into contention along the inside flank over two furlongs out but his mount gradually faded out of the picture. A strongly run mile on a sound surface is what the five-year-old requires.

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