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.
REDCAR WINNER I'M IMPROVING IS CERTAINLY WELL-NAMED
(Yarmouth 24 October)
Having only his third start in 2017 following a lay-off and is looking well-handicapped.
Knight Music was short of room from two furlongs out but ran on into fourth behind in-form Hajaam.
Michael Attwater’s five-year-old has won on the all-weather at Lingfield and Kempton, so a winter campaign could yield further success.
Knight Music won off an official rating of 84 in June 2016 so was entitled to be competitive off his current mark of 76.
(Newbury, October 27)
Finished a promising second at Newmarket four weeks earlier when sent off an unconsidered 40-1 shot but was well supported to go one better in this mile contest.
It proved a frustrating experience for Proschema’s many supporters as Richard Kingscote waited an eternity to switch his mount wide past a couple of fading rivals.
Proschema stayed on stoutly into third behind Military Law and favourite Blue Mist when the race was all over and Tom Dascombe’s colt can make up into a decent three-year-old.
(Doncaster, 27 October)
Punters latched on to the fact that an official rating of 85 probably underrated the latent ability of Roger Varian’s improving three-year-old.
Their assessment proved correct as the heavily-supported favourite powered clear when Andrea Atzeni gave him his head over a furlong out and this imposing individual has a future in good middle-distance handicaps.
COBRA DE MAI
(Cheltenham, 28 October)
A three-time winner in May for Dan Skelton before adding to that tally at Sedgefield earlier this month, Cobra De Mai was thrown into the deep end in the Random Health Handicap Chase.
Trailblazer Foxtail Hill jumped his rivals into submission, with the notable exception of runner-up Le Prezien, and Cobra De Mai made up an enormous amount of ground to finish fifth.
This was a grand effort for a five-year-old and the experience shouldn’t be lost on Cobra De Mai.
(Wolverhampton, 28 October)
George Margarson’s three-year-old has been in good form lately, scoring at Kempton in September, and this was another tip-top run.
Jane Elliott sent her mount for home at the top of the straight but the track has been favouring hold-up performers lately and Daring Guest was swamped close home.
He should remain competitive on the all-weather at his specialist 7f trip.
(Redcar, 30 October)
Graham Lee will have ridden fewer straightforward winners than this smart, but still raw, individual as he eased effortlessly to the front over two out.
There had been a mountain of cash for Keith Dalgleish’s I’m Improving at Hamilton at the end of August but he didn’t settle in the early stages.
At the time, his third to Lisheen Castle that day looked a bit disappointing but the form has worked out remarkably well.
Lisheen Castle went on to chase home Clive Cox’s 91-rated Connect in a Listed event at Pontefract; runner-up Ayutthaya landed the odds for Kevin Ryan next time at Chester; and the well-beaten fourth Unwritten came out to romp home by nine lengths at Pontefract.
I’m Improving is certainly well-named on this evidence.