A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing. Find all previous eyecatchers here.
22/05/23 – 5.00 Windsor:
Settled in rear against the inside rail, before gradually moving over to the other side, travelling well, but not getting a run through over one furlong out, when she tried to progress on the widest outside, with a shifting rival not helping to get clear passage there either.
Finished a fine 3rd. Fast ground, minimum trip not ideal. All best career performances over 6 furlongs, and enjoys less lively ground too. Down to a good mark, won off 76 and 82 last summer.
A 76 speed rating here and 79 speed rating in April suggest she’s in the same form now. Ideally want to see her up in trip, though.
22/05/23 – 4.30 Redcar:
Travelled really well in his group. Fine progress from halfway through and won his group comfortably. Couldn’t catch the winner who travelled alone on the far side.
Ran the best finishing speed. Clearly in good form and on solid mark off 80 having ran to 80 and 83 speed rating last year. Better over 6f on fast ground. Didn’t have that yet this year.
22/05/23 – 2.35 Carlisle:
Set hot pace from the front and travelled strongly until getting quite tired from over 1f out to finish 4th eventually as he’s getting swamped late. Should be good form.
Down to fine mark. In good form. Best with ease in the ground, hence this run warrants an upgrade, but is competitive on fast too, and continues to drop a seriously intriguing mark in any case.
23/05/23 – 8.30 Ayr:
Sluggish start, recovered and went forward to lead at a red hot pace. Found plenty under pressure and only late beaten by two from off the pace.
Good speed rating, which is believable. Ran to near similar speed rating a month earlier on the All-Weather. Definitely in good form but has issues and the hood didn’t seem to help. Would stay a mile if he could settle.
Jury is out how much he’s got in hand these days, but worth another try over 7 furlongs as he has been dropped 2lb by the handicapper for this fine effort.
24/05/23 – 4.30 Ayr:
Pushed a hot pace from the front as part of a duo. Kept fighting well to the line under pressure and nearly held on fending off all challengers bar the winner who came from off the pace.
Huge run. 1st tongue tie, responded well here as well for the decent ground. Deserves a chance in these circumstances again. Won off 73 last autumn in fine style and achieved 77 speed rating.
Was disappointing next time. However was a drifter on the day in the betting, never seemed to travel too well and maybe just doesn’t like ground that fast.
24/05/23 – 4.30 Ayr:
Pushed a hot pace from the front with Mr Beaufort. Didn’t last quite as long but still showed a good attitude here. Strong form most likely.
Ran twice to higher speed ratings than his current 75 mark. Flexible regarding ground but decent to fast ground ideal over the minimum trip.
The Waiting Game
25/05/23 – 5.12 Catterick:
Caught seriously wide from #14 draw. Did a lot to cross over and get into a position where she tracked the hot pace. Some progress in the home straight before getting tired and also hampered 1f out.
Ran better than bare form lto on Handicap debut as well. Not ridden with intend to obtain best result last two times. The game is in the name…. down to 50 now interesting, if handbrake is off, especially with any support in the betting.
25/05/23 – 3.30 Haydock:
Travelled like a dream in midfield, well covered. Came through strongly, hard on the bridle, going through a gap over 2 furlongs out. Was eventually outkicked and not had the speed to go with the winner but ran on well.
Has the pedigree to improve beyond six furlongs. Will be of serious interest up in trip if she can settle. Has won and ran well over sprint trips already. The way she travelles suggests there’s talent better than a 78 OR.
26/05/23 – 4.30 Bath:
Forced to settle off the pace the way the race developed. Was going well but had to wait for room as no gap opened late. Finished best in the final furlong.
Clear return to form after some lesser efforts on the All-Weather. Did well on the sand during winter, though. Down to sexy mark and not out of it on turf either, despite 0/5 record. Never expected in those runs but clearly handles fast ground.
26/05/23 – 7.00 Curragh:
Quickly restraint in rear of the field against the inside rail. Was going pretty well but progress stopped as he was stuck behind a wall of horses, short of room and hampered from two furlongs until late before in the clear inside the final furlong and finished nicely.
Only slowly drops in the mark. Effective over a variety of sprint trips and acts on nearly all ground. Not tremendously well-handicapped but placed off higher and may not be far off a big run if allowed to run on merit.
26/05/23 – 5.00 Haydock:
Swerved to his left out of the gate then settled in midfield. Travelled strongly on the bridle over 2f out behind horses but had to wait for room and switch to the inside for a run. Finished best.
Started the first two furlongs & finished the final furlong faster than the the first two home (fastest final furlong). May not truly stay 1m and would ideally drop to 7f. Lightly raced, good speed rating here as well.
27/05/23 – 4.15 Curragh:
Tracked the pace against the inside rail for most of the race until the two groups merged. He found himself shot of room multiple times and only late was able to get properly into the clear to finish strongly.
Strong form. Ran to 80 speed rating. Seemed to enjoy the decent ground and has responded for blinkers the last two. Showed promise as a juvenile. Clearly better than what he has shown up to now.
If he’s kept in handicap company he’ll be well-handicapped. Move up in trip is certainly preferable.
27/05/23 – 4.15 Curragh:
Travelled in midfield, not going smoothly, niggled along, possibly found the pace over 7f on fastish ground too hot. Kept going well, though. Not clear run over 2f out and slightly hampered over 1f out.
Handicap debut and should be better than this. Decent speed rating. Should move up in trip again and dangerous off 87 on decent ground.
27/05/23 – 2.25 Haydock:
His chances were compromised from the wide draw. He didn’t get in to find cover and as a consequence always travelled three wide, mostly without cover, off the pace. Travelled well and made good progress from over 3f out before getting tired in the final furlong.
May not quite stay a mile. 7f most likely ideal. Impressive win as a juvenile. High enough mark but deserves chance over 7f. He usually can go forward. Deserves chance in easier race.
27/05/23 – 3.30 Haydock:
Huge disadvantage the low draw that day. In rear early on, before excellent progress from three furlong out on the far side. Did well to run so well for so long.
Better over 6f, ideally with decent to fast ground. One who needs things to fall right but ran solid last season still and could be underestimated in the right race.
27/05/23 – 4.10 Haydock:
Widest draw away from the inside rail huge disadvantage. Bumped after the start. Was going okay but short of room over 2f out. Disaster run. Ran on well prior on his handicap debut as well.
Could be better than this. May prefer ease in the ground and/or could enjoy an additional furlong as he doesn’t seem to have the speed for fast 6f. Down to 72 intriguing.
27/05/23 – 4.45 Haydock:
Grabbed the lead, set solid pace, travelled strongly to 2f marker. Fought gamely but empty half a furlong from home.
Maybe doesn’t quite get 7f. All wins over 6f. Down to 80 could be dangerous if he drops down in trip again. Ran last year twice 82+ speed ratings.
27/05/23 – 3.40 Curragh:
Off to a good start, tracked pace keenly early on. Travelled well enough before he became a bit flat footed over 2 furlongs out as the sedate pace increased. Lost ground but stamina kicked in and he flew home the final furlong.
Could enjoy moving up in trip if the pace is solid. Smart prospect and may be underestimated because his profile isn’t that sexy, especially after his Dubai flop.
30/05/23 – 4.10 Brighton:
Flew down the first half of the race, was over a full second faster to the 3f marker than the eventual winner. Gradually tired but was game to the line.
Bumped into a well-handicapped one on seasonal reappearance lto. Can get home but more often than not 7f is a stretch, probably best over 6f. down to solid mark and clearly in form a pound below his last winning mark.
30/05/23 – 8.45 Lingfield:
Moved quickly forward from wider than ideal draw and travelled very wide before moving across to lead. Was going well for long and showed good attitude late as well.
Best over 5f. Down to intriguing mark. Ran well over minimum trip on fast ground last year. Didn’t get the best of luck on the AW lately but finished well, especially last time at Southwell.
30/05/23 4.20 Redcar:
Quick start, led from the front as part of duo. Travelled strongly approaching 2f out before he came under severe pressure. beaten by winner from off the pace.
Still a maiden but ran twice 62+ speed ratings. may not stay 7f unless gifted a soft lead. drop to 6f really interesting off career-lowest mark.
30/05/23 – 4.55 Redcar:
Set off very fast, going sprinter pace the first few furlongs, as part of a duo. Kept going well, still ahead 1f out, swamped late. huge run and return to form. down to sexy mark, judged on last season.
Should be strong form. Winner was well-handicapped. Would be most interesting for drop to 7f, even though he stays further, a mile with little pace competition could also be interesting.
01/06/23 – 4.30 Yarmouth:
Right up with the pace, lead early then chased it. Seemingly going backwards from 2f out but kept on well. Bumped slightly over 1f out and squeezed. Hot race and strong form most likely.
Should find an easier one and can win and may improve with experience still. May also be able to drop to 6f.
01/06/23 – 5.00 Yarmouth:
Set strong pace from the front. Had the field on the stretch halfway out. Kicked clear and only late beaten by very well-handicapped horse.
May go up a couple of pounds but ran 66 speed rating here and 67 in the past. Clearly best on decent ground, and could go well in the right race of revised mark still in right conditions.
02/06/23 – 5.05 Doncaster:
Bumped at the start, settled in rear, made some good progress travelling well from over 3f out on the outside of the field. Impeded 2f out, ran home solid enough.
Looks a big horse. May needed the run still. Still lightly raced, handicap debut and worth to watch out for over 7f-1m on decent ground. Full-sister achieved nothing, so not too many chances given.
02/06/23 – 9.00 Catterick:
Dwelt, keen in rear, seemed difficult to steer and went very wide. great progress and finished second on the line despite jockey tried to pull up early.
Dropped another couple of pounds in the meantime. Run better last few runs than bare form. Still a maiden but could cherry ripe potentially. Entry next week at Haydock intriguing.
03/06/23 – 7.10 Lingfield:
Dwelt from wide draw, rushed forward on outside before crossing over to lead the field. Was going well and seriously gutsy to stay in front for as long as he did.
Career best speed rating. clearly back in form. Not on to trust to follow-up, but worth to check if he drops to 7f again as the additional half furlong may have been a bit too far here.
03/06/23 – 8.10 Lingfield:
Tracked the pace on far side, quite prominently ridden. Travelled well to 2f out but couldn’t quite keep up the effort in the closing stages. Did best of those low drawn, which is often a disadvantage over this CD.
Career-best on speed ratings, as low as that is. 7f on fast ground ideal and interesting in a similarly poor race when she has a good draw.
03/06/23 – 3.00 Listowel:
Dwelt and awkward out of the gate. Settled in midfield, bumped into rival before the first turn. Made progress and found a route through to challenge, though the winner was long gone. Ran on well.
Confirmed lto promise. Down to fine mark. Best on decent ground (ideally no worse than yielding), so could be intriguing on a more conventional track if the dry spell continues. However, can have issues at the gate.
04/06/23 – 5.15 Nottingham:
Travelled seriously well on the far side, covered up behind the pace. Pulled out over 2f out and kicked on well to lead, before late beaten by horse on the stands’ side.
Well handicapped on last-years form. Clearly back in form as he showed some promise at Catterick prior too.
He enjoys decent ground and should remain dangerous even with a small hike in the ratings.
03/06/23 – 1.30 Epsom:
A finish dominated by those ridden with restraint. Which was somewhat surprising, because they didn’t go too hard in the first half of the race, with a finishing speed of 116% for the winner, Auguste Rodin (the par for the Derby distance at Epsom is around 111%) not quite telling the tale, perhaps.
King Of Steel raced the closest to the pace from those who made any impact in the closing stages. He travelled pretty well in midfield and kicked on strongly from over 3f out, before being outstayed in the final furlong by the Aiden O’Brien trained colt.
White Birch came from very far back and made great progress on the outside in the home straight. He’s an obvious eyecatcher in that sense. However, there a couple of others who interest me more for the future.
Sprewell is probably the one who left the biggest impression on me. I was certainly not overly keen on him beforehand, but he certainly confirmed his huge talent in the Derby.
It was his fifth career start, but the first time going over the Derby trip. He looked still a bit keen and perhaps green at various stages of the race, hence the fact he finished so well in 4th, without ever appearing with a shot of winning, truth told, is noteworthy.
He found himself short of room at a crucial stage of the race over 2.5f out, though. Subsequently he got badly unbalanced, yet found his momentum quickly again and ran on before his stamina ran out in the final furlong.
Fast ground clearly wasn’t an issue. But the Derby trip may stretch his stamina, especially in a properly run race. However, he has shown his class over 10 furlongs already. That looks his trip. He’s one I’ll track.
Waipiro endured a disaster run. he dwelt, was then caught behind a wall of horses, trailed the field and had to come around wide for a run.
He made excellent progress from 4f out around Tattenham Corner, before his effort fizzled out from 2f out. He probably didn’t get the trip. Though, I thought the confirmed the promise he showed at Newmarket and at Lingfield.
Whether he’s a genuine Group 1 horse remains to be seen. He could be underestimated if he drops down to 10 furlongs, though.
Artistic Star ran a race of two halves, so to speak. Initially I was disappointed with his run. I backed him, and thought he would do much better than a 11 lengths beaten 7th place.
However, he ran a race full of promise. After a solid start he didn’t travel well, niggled at various stages. Perhaps inexperience in such a big, tight field was to blame.
Three furlongs from home he was relegated to last even, before the penny seemed to drop and he motored home in the 4rd fastest final 3f split to pass many tired horses.
He’ll have learned plenty and remains at this stage an exciting prospect after two excellent career performances prior where he ran strong speed ratings for an inexperienced horse.
Whether he’s Group 1 class remains to be seen. His siblings were smart horses but not quite top-notchers. He looks to stay the Derby distance, much like they did, though.