Weekly Eyecatchers

Another couple of winners came out of the notebook last week from only a handful of runners Bop It 4/1 at Haydock and Sharp Sailor 4/1 at Newmarket on Saturday, there was plenty of 7/1 available on Saturday morning about the latter. Once again it showed the importance of taking early prices about these horses if you are backing them.

As I said last week I will begin by updating which horses I have deleted from my tracker, since I started writing this column with a brief explanation where necessary.

Removed From The Tracker

Bertiewhittle – Three runs without winning. The old boy might pop up somewhere given his low handicap mark but he’s not in my tracker. That’s not to say I won’t bet on him again but it will be on a race by race basis.

Jack Naylor – Not going to be easy to place despite a good effort in the Irish Oaks.

Master The World – Winner

Cartier – Not really progressing as I hoped – might be worth one more chance on good to soft going when the stable is back in winning form.

Kimberella – Winner

Bashiba – Winner

Orvar – Beaten at short odds at Newmarket and one I wished I hadn’t bothered to put in the tracker to be honest.

Muffri’Ha – Winner

Disclosure – Winner

Mount Logan – Winner

Baraweez – Winner

Taper Tantrum – Another that hasn’t progressed as I would have liked. Out of the tracker but might be worth one chance when he gets softer going!

Eye Of The Storm – Had this one in mind for Goodwood Cup only

So Beloved – Winner

Rex Imperator – Winner

Bop It – Winner

There are a few more horses “drinking in the last chance saloon” so to speak and in next weeks column I will look at horses that I will now be backing only under certain conditions.

I have been away for most of last week so this week’s small group of eyecatchers come from the racing on Friday and Saturday only.


Friday 7th August


Timba – John Gosden – The four year old was only having her 3rd career start and hadn’t been seen since running Marsh Daisy to 3 ½ lengths at Newbury in September 2014. She impressed in the paddock, looking like she has developed into a big strong filly and her trainer has clearly given her plenty of time to mature. Keen to post she was also keen in the race which didn’t help her chance. An entry in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in October suggests that connections hold her in high regard. She should come on for this race. She will have gone into plenty of notebooks so am not sure she will be much of a price if she goes for a handicap on her next start but I think she will be up to Listed and Group class in the autumn.

Highland Acclaim – David O’Meara – I have been waiting for this four year old to return to form, as he hadn’t shown much in his previous 5 starts this season, and he finally did in this 6f handicap when finishing a running on 4th. He can be slowly away in his races and he has been badly away from the stalls on his last two starts but he got away on level terms here. The handicapper might put him up a 1lb or 2lb for this run but he is only 1lb higher than for his last win in August 2014 and 5lb lower then when running Spinatrix to ¾ lengths at York last October. He is effective over 6f & 7f and really apprciates quick going. He does need a strongly run race to be seen at his best, as he likes to be held up and go pass tiring horses. Looks on a winnable mark and is one to note in big field 6f sprint handicaps in the coming weeks, from a trainer who can “plot” one for a big pot.

Saturday 8th August


What About Carlo – Eve Johnston Houghton – Has always been highly regarded by his trainer and indeed was given a Group 1 Coral Eclipse entry last year. His last win was in a valuable handicap at Epsom in June 2014 and he was running off a 1lb lower mark here. His form last year tailed off after that win but he did return to something like his best when a staying on 4th in the Lincoln Handicap after a gelding operation over the winter. Today was a welcome return to form for the four year old, after a short break, and he was staying on well at the finish to be beaten just a length into 4th. His trainer hasn’t been in the best of form this summer so there should be plenty more to come in the coming weeks. This 1m 2f is his trip and given the ground was plenty quick enough here, seems better on good ground, and he will be suited by a bit of rain before his races. Given his handicap mark there is surely a decent pot in the horse when he gets his optimum conditions.


Bold Lass – David Lanigan – The Sea The Stars filly was unsuited by Epsom on her penultimate start but showed that day that she was capable of the step up to pattern grade from handicap company. The four year old was unlucky here as she was knocked to last place at the start of the race. She then had to make her effort on the outside of the field but was never getting there and had to settle for a 2 length 4th at the finish. Well backed before the race she holds a host of Group 1 entries in the autumn and is clearly held in high regard by her trainer. Four from eight on turf, she is well suited by a sound surface with all four of her wins coming on good to firm going. From a family that does well with time and age, one of her half sisters was a Group 1 winner at four, and I think there are nice races in her from a trainer who is renowned for his patience with such types. They say beware of unlucky horses but in this case am happy to give her another chance.

Belvoir Diva – Chris Wall – The daughter of Exceed and Excel was only having her 4th career start and her first start since a disappointing run at Wolverhampton in March. Slowly away she didn’t have the clearest of runs when making here challenge a furlong out and had to make her effort on the stands side. Beaten about 2 lengths into 4th at the finish she wasn’t really unlucky here but she still ran well. Unraced on ground worse than good to firm on turf she looks like she will be best suited by quick going. Given this was only her second start on turf there should be more to come from her in the autumn. I can’t see this unexposed three year old not being placed to win a handicap in the coming weeks.

Once again I hope you find this useful in your winner finding in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments just post them and I will get back to you.

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. hi Michael
    I have pd for theracing news paper u recommended but have not received my copy as yet
    mary Parker

    1. Hi Mary, thank you for the comment. You can access SmartSigger from your members area. We will also send you a support ticket to make sure you have got into your members area.

  2. Phew, what a start!! I took up your discounted offer to Eyeccatchers Pro last week-end. Of the first 4 bets yesterday 2 won and I netted a clear profitable of 13 1/2 points at the prices I obtained. Keep up the good wor!


  3. Hi joined your eye catcher service but I have lost user and password and can you let me know how I can get into this page cheers Gary kirk

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