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.
BAGS GROOVE CAN BUILD ON LAST SEASON'S BUMPER CAMPAIGN
Picked up a leg injury when landing a Kempton novices’ hurdle in January and Oliver Sherwood’s mare made a perfectly satisfactory comeback in this Class 3 mares’ handicap hurdle.
Legend Lady found impressive winner Midnight Tour in a different league over the final two obstacles but finished well clear of the others. She should stay a bit further than two miles.
Penalised for his recent Sedgefield victory, Ballycrystal made a brave attempt to concede 7lb to Alan King’s The Unit, going down by a head in this 2m 5f novices’ hurdle.
The Unit was in cruise control and appeared to be laughing at Brian Ellison’s five-year-old early in the straight but he was made to dig deep by the tenacious runner-up.
Full marks to Henry Spiller for scouring the programme book and finding a very weak fillies’ maiden for Hackney Road’s debut.
Tom Queally was exuding confidence from some way out and Hackney Road had only to be pushed out to score comfortably.
The three-year-old is bred to stay a good bit further than this introductory six furlongs and her handicap mark shouldn’t be penal given the runner-up was rated 60.
No match for Jenkins on his hurdling initiation but Bags Groove showed enough to think he can build on last season’s successful bumper campaign.
The winner is being touted as an early Supreme Novices’ fancy and Harry Fry’s Bags Groove definitely found this two-mile trip far too sharp, staying on into second place after being outpaced early in the straight.
This well-named son of Rip Van Winkle is being brought along steadily by Neil Mulholland and he wasn’t knocked about after becoming outpaced on the home turn.
Sleep Easy, a past winner over 1m 6f on soft ground at Haydock and on his hurdling debut at Stratford in May, seemed to find this two-mile trip on the sharp side, doing his best work in the closing stages.
Running in the colours of sporting owner Tony Bloom, Sleep Easy is a four-year-old with a future.
Made a promising debut at Market Rasen in May when pipped by Cougar’s Gold, with third horse Black Ivory subsequently rattling off a hat-trick for Malcolm Jefferson.
Chez Castel Mail travelled beautifully before throwing down his challenge early in the straight, but the heavily-backed Way Back Then proved too strong in the final 100 yards. This looked a decent bumper.
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