Eyecatchers

Rhys Williams reveals his latest batch of horses to add to your Tracker – includes one that made a promising start for new trainer Neil Mulholland in a tongue tie for the first time following a wind op.

  • Thursday 30 January
  • Blog
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Welcome to the attheraces.com Eyecatchers column. Every week Rhys Williams will pinpoint horses primed to strike in the next few weeks, if not days. Remember, you can add Rhys's weekly updates to your ATR Tracker.

NEW CIRCUMSTANCES BRING ABOUT PLENTY OF IMPROVEMENT FROM ROOKIE TRAINER

DEMOPOLIS
4th - ROA Owners Jackpot Handicap Hurdle, Tuesday 21st January

Demopolis has been very disappointing since arriving in Britain but he shaped much better at Exeter with a tongue tie reapplied for the first time since he wore one in victory on his debut at Auteuil.

Held up towards the back of the field, he raced a touch keenly until around halfway before having to be nudged along as the pace started to quicken towards the end of the back straight.

Stuck widest of all on the final bend, he started to make headway early in the straight and that run continued which put him in third at the last but the effort of making such a big move in tiring conditions took its toll on the run-in and he was caught very late on for third place.

Given the way the race played out with all the hurdles in the back straight being omitted and it being steadily run, he was poorly positioned towards the back so this performance can be upgraded.

His win on debut at Auteuil came on chewed up good ground at the end of their Spring season and I think a return to much quicker ground and a stronger run race will see him in a better light in the future.

SHAMAMEYA
5th - Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Fillies’ Handicap, Wednesday 22nd January

Shamameya was narrowly beaten on her return after a 417-day break at Wolverhampton and she ran much better than her finishing position suggests on her latest outing at Lingfield.

She was squeezed up between Javelin and Bint Dandy shortly after the start which resulted in her dropping back to last and having to be nudged along.

Switched wide coming down the side of the course, she then ended up moving out very wide coming off the final bend which cost her ground and momentum.

Once she regathered her stride, Shamameya stayed on strongly but she had lost all chance at the final bend and could only close into fifth.

I think a longer straight might suit her better and she was reported to have hung right-handed at Lingfield so her best chance of getting off the mark this winter could be at Kempton.

GALICE MACALO
6th - Sky Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race), Friday 24th January

Galice Macalo fell when in with a winning chance at Aintree on her second start and although she didn’t match the level of that performance at Doncaster, she shaped well in a race that wasn’t run to suit.

She raced keenly under restraint for much of the slowly run race before starting to move a bit closer once entering the home straight.

Pushed along after 3 out, she couldn’t close any further and was then switched sharply towards the inside of the track as Midnights’ Gift came across her.

She kept plugging away under pressure but couldn’t put in a significant challenge and came home 4½ lengths behind the winner in sixth.

Four of the five horses that finished ahead of her were ex-flat horses and this showed in the closing stages as the slowly run race put more emphasis on speed than stamina which didn’t suit this national hunt-bred filly.

She has received a rating of 120 which I think underestimates her ability and she can show that when she gets a stronger run race.

LANSING
7th - Fundraise At Dundalk Stadium Maiden (Plus 10 Race), Friday 24th January

Despite finishing 7¾ lengths behind the winner on his debut at Dundalk on Friday, Lansing ran well after completely blowing the start.

He was so slowly into stride that he was already ten lengths behind the leader after 100 yards. He got on to the back of the main pack leaving the back straight and was briefly steadied as he started to get a bit keen.

Once in the straight, he was switched widest of all and kept on well, despite showing signs of inexperience, but couldn’t get anywhere near the winner.

Hopefully on his next start he will be far sharper from the stalls and he has the potential to take a big step forward if that does happen.  

EVEN FLIGHT
4th - Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, Saturday 25th January

Even Flight was stepped up significantly in trip for his handicap debut from 2m to 3m and he ran well despite a few things not going ideally.

After jumping the first hurdle, he started to race keenly in a prominent position and continued to do so as the field turned down the back straight for the final time.

He lost his place as the field tightened up on the run to 3 out and was in second last jumping that hurdle.
Pushed along after, he responded well and shortly after turning into the straight he suddenly appeared to be going best tracking the leading pair with Frank Hayes just nursed him along.

However, Even Flight stumbled slightly on landing at 2 out and soon came under stronger pressure and after another untidy jump at the last, could only stay on into a never nearer fourth, beaten one length.

Given the keenness that he showed for the first half of the race, it was encouraging that he found so much under pressure in the closing stages and if he starts to relax better in the early stages of races over this type of distance, he can be successful over staying trips.  

PLANTADREAM
1st - 32Red Casino Novice Stakes, Saturday 25th January

Plantadream showed promise on his belated debut at Chester last year when green and he still showed plenty of inexperience when getting off the mark at Kempton.

He was slowly away and shifted out to the left and then raced keenly in rear off a slow pace. He continued to race keenly turning the bend and was still in last turning into the straight.

Nudged along soon after, he quickly started to make headway and was put under a bit stronger pressure just over a furlong out to challenge the leaders.

Plantadream found plenty, despite looking to lug to the right, and only had to be pushed out in the closing stages to win by 1½ lengths.

Considering how green he still was and that he was held up and keen off a slow pace, I think Plantadream was far more superior to this field than the winning margin suggests and hopefully they will get a clear run with this five-year-old so he can fulfil his potential having made a late start to his career.  

ROOKIE TRAINER
2nd - Southern Cranes And Access Maiden Hurdle, Sunday 26th January

Rookie Trainer looked promising when narrowly beating Truckers Pass at Ballindenisk but ran awfully on his first two starts under rules for Kayley Woollacott in a bumper and novice hurdle, beaten a combined 116 lengths.

However, switched to Neil Mulholland and given a wind op and wearing a tongue tie for the first time, he showed a level of ability at Fontwell far more in keeping with the promise of his point to point win.

Having been a little keen early on, he settled and raced in midfield until starting to make some headway early on the final circuit.

At the first hurdle down the back straight he appeared to be caught by Kaymar as he fell alongside him which briefly left Robbie Dunne unbalanced as Rookie Trainer slightly lost his footing.

Rookie Trainer quickly recovered and travelled smoothly in behind the leaders leaving the back straight.

Nudged along early in the home straight, he tried to challenge Full Backat 2 out but couldn’t quite match him and although Rookie Trainer stayed on well to pull six lengths clear of the third, he couldn’t put in a serious challenge to Full Back and was beaten 4¼ lengths. 

This was a promising first start for Mulholland and hopefully Rookie Trainer will progress from this as he has the potential to be a good hurdler and chaser in the long term. 


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