Weekly Eye-catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

Eyecatcher Winners Bring Plenty of Christmas Cheer

Well, I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas & New Year break and it was a profitable one from a betting perspective given the amount of top class horse racing action that was on last week.

In last week’s column I tipped up Native River as the likely winner of the Coral Welsh Grand National and I know plenty of you followed me in on the horse.

After what had been a quiet start to the month for the Eyecatcher Pro service we really kicked into gear from Boxing Day, making a fantastic profit over the week, with the Tom George trained Double Shuffle 9/1 got things off to a great start at Kempton. Later in the week the service had the first two in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown with Outlander 11/1 beating Don Poli 12/1. The winners have continued to flow in the days since and for those of you who joined Eyecatcher Pro service before Christmas you will have paid for a years subscription on the basis of last weeks profit.

Thistlecrack Looking Good But The Don Lurks!

There was so much good racing since last week’s column with some notable performances for the trackers and a couple of interesting runners with future targets in mind. Firstly, though I will take a brief look at the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle pictures after last week.

Thistlecrack’s decisive win in the King George means he is now a short favourite for the big one in March. Now he is clearly now a worthy favourite albeit too short for me and I like to take on these ‘short ones’ if I can. Colin Tizzard also has the second favourite for the race in Welsh Grand National winner Native River and he gives the trainer an exceptionally strong hand in the race. So who can stop trainer from taking the Gold Cup? Despite the great finish to the Lexus I don’t think it will be Outlander but his trainer Gordon Elliott still has last year’s winner Don Cossack to unleash. Trainer reports are that he is coming on really well from what look like a career ending tendon injury sustained last spring and could well be returning for his seasonal reappearance at the end of this month. The ten year old was a 6/1 chance to retain his crown after last years race and so the 12/1 available ante post will look value if he wins on his return. He certainly looks like the only horse that can beat the favourite at present, if of course he comes through prep race.

Petit Mouchoir Brushes Aside Rivals in Ryanair Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle picture wont be clear until we know whether Faugheen or Annie Power will be ready for March and which races they end up in. Not ante post betting market to be involved in at this stage but there is no doubting that the Henry De Bromhead trained Petit Mouchoir has to be taken seriously as a contender for the race after outing what looked a much improved performance when beating Nichols Canyon by an easy looking 7 lengths at Leopardstown over Christmas. The gelding was travelling like the winner for most of the race and was clearly enjoying it out in front and coming to the last he never looked like he would be caught by his rivals. The five year old is clearly progressing well and showed no ill effects after his heavy fall three out in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle a race he probably would have won but for that mistake. Clearly he will need to a improve further to beat the likes of Faugheen or Annie Power but there is no reason why he shouldn’t continue to progress and both of the big guns will know they have been in a race if he brings his best to the race.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

I have three horses for your trackers this week and I will be adding three more exclusively for Pro subscribers today and I am also monitoring some horses that will be added for specific races in the coming weeks and are handicapped to go in.

Monday December 26th


Omessa Has – Nicky Henderson – Was having her third start since joining the trainer in late 2015. A winner over hurdles in France the five year old hadn’t shown too much in her previous two starts for Nicky Henderson but performed much better here in the first time tongue tie. Travelling well she made headway before three out and was still in contention two out but could never get to the leaders. Might well have been closer on more testing ground than the good going she faced here. Beaten just 6 lengths into 5th at the finish she looks capable of winning off a mark of 132.


Hollywoodien – Tom Symonds – A big chasing type the six year old made it 3 wins from six starts over fences when winning this Class 3 Wetherby Handicap Chase in good style. Trainer had expected the gelding to improve this season with racing. Left his Haydock seasonal reappearance behind him and once again showed the benefit of having had a run. He is now 3 win from 4 runs 4 places when racing when racing 31 to 60 days since his last run. Seems’ ground versatile, although he has yet to race on heavy ground. Given his relative lack of experience over the larger obstacles he put in a very good round of. Will go up in the weights a fair bit for this win but is at the right end of the handicap and looks worth following for the rest of the season and certainly deserves to take his chance in better handicaps.

Tuesday 28th December


Arthur’s Oak – Venetia Williams – The 9 year old looked a much improved handicap chaser winning 3 from 5 last season. Was making his seasonal reappearance here, hasn’t been seem on the track since running down the field at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and ran like he needed the run when finishing a well beaten Four from eight 6 places when running 16 to 60 days since his last run, he also well suited to rain softened ground. The stable is now starting to really hit top form and I will be surprised if this one cant add to his win record over fences this winter especially in small field handicaps, as this normally front running type is 3 from 5 4 places in races with 7 or less runners.

Don’t miss next week’s column, as in addition to the tracker horses and my normal look back on Saturday’s action, I will be starting my ante post countdown to Cheltenham, looking each week at one of the non handicap races at the Festival.

All that’s left now is to wish you all a Happy and Profitable New Year.

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.


  1. hello , well we all know about garbish in garbish out ,and with numbers and a calculator/computer there are umpteen ways of analysis of each race via past form and race-day cards etc,and of course lets not ignore the official handicapper and time-form who have all it takes towards rating each runner and so forth , plus of course the trainer connections generally enter their horses towards its ability also via distance and going etc. so is it a case of what you see is what you get ? and why should you see what others with a lot more experience dont see ? which of course should be reflected in the betting markets ?
    however, there is room for what you dont see such as eye catcher and others such as time-form who also highlight particular eye catchers also at a cost .,

    so is there any way you can do the same for free ? which will require a lot of time and effort also.
    well yes but you cannot possibly do it all at once so you have to specialize your interest which is how Phil Bull of time-form started c/o following and digesting every bit of information you can get via one particular stable , and over time you will then be able to see and know what others may not see etc. or you can concentrate on sprinters or milers etc , or 2yo or improving 3yo etc. horse racing can be a very lucrative hobby no different to many others be it stamp collecting or whatever ?

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