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.
JANIKA CAN MAKE HIS MARK IN BRITAIN ONCE THE RAIN ARRIVES
(Chelmsford City, 24 January)
Dean Ivory had the visor restored on Kadrizzi for this 7f Class 4 handicap and his gelding ran a fine race, closing on well-placed winner Glenn Coco from a wider pitch.
Kadrizzi hasn’t won since August 2016 but was rated 104 in his pomp before a gradual decline.
Down to a mark of 73 here, the six-year-old raced with enthusiasm and can reasonably be expected to pop up soon.
(Cheltenham, 26 January)
Janika was denied in a thrilling finish by the doughty, bold-jumpingSiruh Du Lac, much to the disappointment of favourite backers in this competitive handicap chase.
The six-year-old occupied the same position at Ascot before Christmas on his debut for Nicky Henderson but this quadruple winner in France on much deeper ground can make his mark in Britain once the rain arrives.
(Lingfield, 26 January)
Lightly-raced last season by William Knight, Ballard Down was having his second start for new trainer David O’Meara.
Restrained early, the six-year-old was checked when making a promising move under Danny Tudhope before flattening out close home to finish third behind surprise winner Mr Scaramanga.
Ballard Down has slipped to a reasonable mark and has winning form on soft ground at Newmarket, suggesting a more galloping track will better suit.
(Cheltenham, 26 January)
Fergal O’Brien has been struggling to find winners of late (plenty of placed horses), so he must have breathed a sigh of relief when Benny’s Bridge brightened up the gathering gloom in the finale.
Given an audacious waiting ride from Paddy Brennan, Benny’s Bridge made up a prodigious amount of ground to reel in favourite Flash The Steel, edging clear in the final 100 yards.
Given that this was only his fourth start over hurdles, and his first in a handicap, Benny’s Bridge can build on this success.
(Uttoxeter, 26 January)
Stepping into handicap company, Supremely Lucky travelled comfortably under Bridget Andrews for most of this 2m 4f trip before failing to quicken (fourth) behind useful Ballyandy.
Dan Skelton’s gelding twice acquitted himself creditably in Listed/Graded company at Cheltenham following a facile Southwell victory on good ground in November and this testing surface may just have found him out in the closing stages.
(Chelmsford City, 26 January)
Lacks a change of gear and that was again Cuillin’s undoing in this 1m 2f Class 4 handicap as she toiled in fourth spot behind in-form Dommersen.
American-bred Cuillin ran a pleasing race over course and distance in early December when hunting up Given Choice and James Fanshawe can find her a little race back in Class 5 company.