Weekly Eyecatchers

Mullionheir 7/1 was a winner for the eyecatchers at Newbury and Farquhar was a good second at the Newmarket also at 7/1.

Before I look at this week’s tracker horses, I did mention last week that I had a few more horses “drinking in the last chance saloon” and I would only be looking at them as bets under certain conditions. Here are four of them with a brief explanation:

Border Bandit – All his wins have come on good to soft or better. Just doesn’t handle soft ground. Five wins have come at Ripon (3-7), Beverley (2-5) and Pontefract (1-2) so 6 -13 from these three courses also all his wins have come over a 1m & 1m ½ f.

Munstead Pride – A winner on the fibresand! The three year old is a big horse who looks like he hits the ground fairly hard. Has been running respectably on ground probably too quick for him and looks worth a chance when he sees easier ground

Montaly – This son of Yeats is now only 3lb higher than his last winning mark. I will give him a chance when he gets soft in the going description again. The four year old is 2-4 on such going with 2nd places.

Farquhar – Didn’t run too badly on Saturday when second but the heavy rain elsewhere didn’t arrive at Newmarket. Like a few of my eyecatchers, I will be giving him one more chance when he gets soft in the going description, especially over 1m 4f Two of his career wins have come on such going.

I didn’t get much a chance to look at Saturday’s big races as I was in full research mode for my favourite meeting of the year York’s Ebor Festival and indeed it looks like a few of the previous tracker horses will be in action this week.

Here are this weeks eyecatchers and they are a mixture of handicappers from across all the classes

Monday 10th August


Wink Oliver – Kristin Stubbs – The three year old is 0-9 (3 seconds) on turf but 2-10 on the tapeta at Wolverhampton. Was a littlie bit unlucky here when beaten 2 lengths in to 4th. The gelding was making headway on the inside when he didn’t get the clearest of runs a furlong out. He was also a bit slowly away from the stalls so this performance was better than the bare form suggests. He is 5lb lower on turf then the all weather and looks capable of taking a moderate turf handicap on good going.

Wednesday 12th August


Thatcherite – Tony Coyle – The seven year old can be slowly away from the stalls and he was again here. I noted him noted staying on very strongly from the rear to take 6th beaten 2 ½ lengths at the finish. Now 2lb lower than when winning at Beverly back in May he has returned to a winning mark. All of his six turf wins have come on good or good to firm going, six of wins have come within 15 days or less of his last run and five of his wins have come from a handicap mark of 61-70 he now races off 68. A strongly run 5f suits him very well and he has won three time after August so there could still be a small race in him when he gets good or quicker ground.

Thursday 13th August


Babyfact – Malcolm Saunders – A winner at Bath on her penultimate start, she then disappointed at the same venue but this was a welcome return to form for the filly. The trainer had booked Paul Hanagan for the ride so a better run was expected. The daughter of Piccolo showed good speed for most of the race before finding no extra in the final few yards to finish a 2 ½ length 5th This was only her 9th career start so she is still lightly raced for her age and there should still be a small handicap in her especially when she gets a chance to dominate from the start as she did when winning at Bath.

Friday 14th August


Nuno Tristan – William Jarvis – The three year old was only having his 5th career start and hadn’t been seen since run down the field in a very hot handicap at Newmarket back in May. He was always up with the pace in this 6f handicap and was only beaten 1 ¾ lengths into 6th at the finish. A winner of a maiden on the all weather at Kempton back in December, his trainer had stated after that win that the horse has suffered from sore shins in the past and they had given him plenty of time. There is surely a Class 4 handicap in the horse off his present, either on the all weather or turf on the evidence of this performance.

Sisyphus – Ollie Pears – A huge three year old with plenty of scope for improvement. He had run promisingly on his previous start at Wetherby and the progress continued here, when he dead heated for 2nd in this 1m 2f handicap. The handicapper will put him up for this run but he should still be on a good handicap mark. Given his size there should be plenty more improvement to come from this son of Halling and he should be able to take a handicap or two in the North. Might make up into a juvenile hurdler?

Saturday 15th August


Eccleston – David O’Meara – Well fancied for the Great St Wilfred’s Handicap. He wouldn’t have beaten the well handicapped winner on the day but he did best of those drawn on the far side and would have finished closer than 4h if there had been more pace on his side. Suited by rain softened ground, he is in good hands and is capable of landing a valuable 6f sprint when he is better drawn. There are plenty of big sprint handicaps for the four year old in the coming weeks.


Roossey – William Haggas – Was the better fancied of the two Haggas runners. For some bizarre reason his jockey took him from the near side draw to the group on the far side. Even his trainer commented on the jockey decision on TV after the race which seemed strange given the draw seemed to favour those drawn on the stands side. He was caught out wide of that group with no cover and eventually ended up a well beaten 11 of 17. This run can be ignored and he is better judged on two lengths second to subsequent Stewards Cup winner Magical Memory on his previous run. A winner at Ayr last September he could well be aimed at the Western meeting and if the ground is good he would go there with a live chance.

Beardwood – Richard Fahey – In the same race as Roossey. The lightly raced three year old, only having his 4th start here. Well fancied in the market he was slowly away from the stalls and wasn’t able to get in to the action after that. He was staying on strongly at the finish to take 6th and he looks to be still progressing. Being by Dutch Art he should handle softer going which opens up more options for him in the coming weeks. He could also be aimed at Ayr in September and is another to go there with a good chance in the big sprint handicaps there.

I will post here each day any runners at York that I will be betting on.

If you have any questions or comments about this article just leave a message below and I will get back you as soon as I can.

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. Wink Oliver runs at Leicester this evening 8:10 – Its been nibbled at in the early betting and 13/2 is available with Corals

    1. Keep up the great work John i love reading and adding the weekly contenders thank you very much.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Clint!

    I am giving one final chance to Bogardus at Hamilton tonight 7:10 – Trainer Patrick Holmes is 2-8 in the past 14 days and has a good record at the track in the past 5 seasons 6-26 +19.50. The horses to prove he stays this far at a stiff track like Hamilton but Joe Fanning looks a good booking for the front runner and i will trust the trainer here – Corals are 14/1 at the time of writing so modest each way bet for me this time.

    There are three declared to run at York tomorrow!

  3. Hopefully you were on Chill the Kite at a very nice 20/1!

    Been waiting for a really big priced winner for the column. Plenty of winners at nice single figure prices in the last six weeks but not the one really standout until today.

    I had four in my portfolio for the race and i am certainly glad I gave the horse one more chance given it looked like he would get the really strong pace he needed.

  4. I’ve only recently started reading your Eyecatchers articles and do find them very educational. I’m starting to see the benefits of keeping notes on horses!
    Do you have a views on how best to utilise your ‘eyecatchers’?
    Also have you any stats on the Profit/Loss of the selections?
    Keep up the good work. Many Thanks

    1. Hi Dave,

      I am glad your finding them useful and educational The benefits of keeping notes on horses are sometimes underestimated in my opinion. At a very simple level you get to know your horses and you can start to profile them: What sort of ground they like and What sort of tracks suit them best, etc.

      The great thing about this site is quality of the information that can enable you to improve and enjoy your betting and probably most importantly make it profitable,

      I will look at answering your question on best utilising the eyecatchers in more detail in next weeks column.

      On the question of stats on profit/loss I keep records of the horses that I have backed but as i have mentioned in a previous article I don’t necessarily back them blind. That said you would be in an albeit small profit even if you had backed them blind.

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