WELCOME to our Eyecatchers column. Every week 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.
MORELLO ROYALE ATR Tracker
(Wincanton, 26 December)
Still to break her duck after eight starts but again acquitted herself well in this novice hurdle won by Abigail Lynch. Morello Royale just lacked a change of gear down the straight but wasn't beaten far in third, and Colin Tizzard will be dropping her into handicap company before too long.
CLARCAM ATR Tracker
(Leopardstown, 26 December)
His imperious 17-length victory in this Grade 1 Chase was perhaps underplayed after hotpot Vautour had blundered away his chance. However, Gordon Elliott's gelding jumped impeccably and fairly motored his way through the contest. His last visit to Cheltenham ended in catastrophe for Bryan Cooper when strong-travelling Clarcam tipped up after hitting the front before two out in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle, but a double-figure quote for the Arkle Trophy in March looks good value.
GILGAMBOA ATR Tracker
(Limerick, 26 December)
Another Arkle Trophy possible on the strength of this flawless performance. Always cantering on the heels of the leaders, Enda Bolger's six-year-old quickened to the front without turning a hair. Gilgamboa was the subject of heavy support in last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham but an almighty blunder two out ended his chance. He will be one of JP McManus' leading fancies come March, although Arkle ante-post favourite Un De Sceaux has set the bar high.
SWIVEL ATR Tracker
(Kempton, 27 December)
A dual winner this summer for Mark Johnston but now in the very capable hands of John Ferguson. His new trainer isn't afraid to pitch his ex-Flat recruits in at the deep end and Swivel ran into smart sorts Bivouac and San Benedeto. Despite a couple of crooked leaps, Swivel emerged with plenty of credit and there should be a race or two in him.
SCRAFTON ATR Tracker
(Wetherby, 27 December)
Blotted his copybook when crashing through the wing of an obstacle down the back straight at Catterick on his hurdling debut but there was no sign of such errant behaviour here as he chased home warm favourite Seamour. Scrafton led between the last two flights but found the winner just too strong in a decent looking contest. Progressive at a fairly modest level around 12 furlongs for James Bethell, Scrafton looks like another shrewd John Quinn purchase.
MODEM ATR Tracker
(Leopardstown, 28 December)
For a four-year-old, Modum shaped promisingly against the older Shemshal in this handicap hurdle and Jessica Harrington's gelding, winner of a Navan maiden 22 days earlier, has scope for improvement, possibly over a bit further.
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