Eyecatchers | 3rd August - 6th August
Updated: Aug 10
Uncle Dick (Eve Johnson-Houghton)
Eve Johnson Houghton has been in good form with her two-year-olds in 2020 saddling six winners and yields a 22% strike rate. This son of Toronado finished an eye-catching fourth at Windsor running on very strongly after being outpaced at an early stage. That was over five furlongs and looking at his pedigree he is bred for further and could get up to a mile in time. His previous start saw him run a similar race on debut at Bath over the same trip. I am hoping he will go up distance next time and he could be one to follow in nurseries later this season.
Baltic Gold (Andre Fabre)
I was working at Sky Sports Racing on Tuesday and I watched Baltic Gold win very comfortably for Andre Fabre. The contest he won was a conditions race and it was his first attempt at a mile and a half. Prior to that he won on his debut at Compiegne and suggested he needed further. The three-year-old is a son of Golden Horn and was bred by Gestut Ammerland who was the owner of 2019 Arc winner Waldgeist. With strong connections behind him he looks like a horse who will be competing in pattern company. It was reported he could go for the rearranged Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in September.
Afro Blue (Richard Hannon)
This Richard Hannon trained colt finished fifth at Lingfield on Tuesday. On his previous start at Doncaster he travelled very strongly into the race and at one point looked the winner. He ran an identical race at the Surrey course but found nothing for pressure. He is a horse that looks like he needs some headgear. If I was his trainer I would fit him with some blinkers or cheek pieces as they might just help his attitude and make him see out his race better and fulfil his potential.
Faisal (John Gosden)
On Tuesday evening the racing media focused their attention on Hollie Doyle who was having her first rides for Imad Alsagar. It was recently announced that she was their new retained rider. This colt was Doyle’s second ride in these colours and she managed to close down John Locke who looked the winner for much of the way. During the race he was slowly away but stayed on really strongly and he suggested that he probably wants further than this. The second John Locke set a fair yardstick as his form at Newbury was of a decent standard. It is unclear how much potential Faisal has to offer but he could definitely be +80 horse.
Pagero (Jonjo O’Neill)
I put Pagero up as my NB at Newton Abbot on Wednesday as he put in some impressive performances last season, most notably at Doncaster. It seemed unusual when looking at the declarations for Jonjo O’Neill to enter him in races during the summer but perhaps he could be targeted for Novice Chases later in the year. Despite this the five-year-old was a gutsy winner getting up for the line. Even though he was untidy at the last and only got the job done on the line, I believe he will strip fitter for the run and the track was on the sharp side. Furthermore he probably needs further in trip as he is a strong traveller. He will definitely be winning more races this season.
Ocean Wind (Roger Teal)
Ocean Wind was a very eye-catching name on the race card at Lingfield. The son of Teofilo had some strong bumper form winning a Listed Race at Newbury and boasting a sixth place effort in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. In his run at Lingfield he finished in a creditable third place and I would be interested to see what handicap mark he would receive. If I was Roger Teal I would be looking at races such as the Cesarewitch or November Handicap as I think he could have untapped potential in staying handicaps.
Gunmetal (David Barron)
Gunmetal has become a cliff horse for many in sprint handicaps over the past couple of years. However he returned to a fair level of form finishing third in a competitive handicap at Ripon yesterday. The seven-year-old is becoming a well handicapped horse and is 11lbs lower than winning the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon in 2018. It is obviously going to be his main target this season and is definitely one that will be on the shortlist after a promising prep run.