Weekly Eyecatchers

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On Saturday one of my previous eyecatchers, Thatcherite finally got the strong pace that he needs to get his head in front at Redcar. On a relatively quiet week on the eyecatchers front it was nice to get a 9/2 winner.

As I mentioned last week the emphasis of my eyecatchers in October changes and this is reflected in this week’s article. With the first National Hunt horses entering the notebook alongside a horse worth following on the all weather in the coming weeks.

For those of you who have subscribed to the Eyecatchers Pro tool there is a bonus as you will find three extra horses that are not part of this article and can win on the all weather .

Tuesday 29th September


Beatabout The Bush – Henry Oliver – Trainer Henry Oliver is starting to make a name for himself in the National Hunt sphere and he is very much a trainer to keep on side this coming jumps season. The four year old won twice for him on over hurdles last season before running poorly in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. Running on the all weather off a lenient flat mark of 50 he only won by a short head so shouldn’t go up much in the handicap after this. He can probably go in again on the all weather if the handicapper isn’t too harsh but he also looks capable of taking a two mile handicap hurdle in the coming weeks particularly when there is a bit of ease in the ground.

Wednesday 30th September

A number of useful juveniles have made their debuts in the autumn at Nottingham, including Golden Horn at the end of last season and I have pair of juveniles that caught my eye on their first starts and will be worth keeping in mind for next year.


Andrasta – Ralph Beckett – Trainer Ralph Beckett is a really good trainer of fillies and this juvenile could well go on to big things next year. She has a German middle distance pedigree. Her sire was a German Derby winner and her full brother won over 1m 3f and she is bred to appreciate 1m 2f plus as a three year old. Running over a mile here her jockey clearly felt he was on a good horse as he didn’t have any problem with making the running. She galloped on strongly to the line and won by three lengths with a further three lengths back to the 3rd. She could well end up an Oaks filly if she winters well and I could easily see here turning up for the Lingfield Oaks Trial, a race her trainer has targeted with success in the past.

Stoney Broke – James Fanshawe – The Dansili filly won the second division of the fillies race that Andrasta had won earlier. Not sure how good the form is but she won nicely in the end with her jockey not having to use his whip at all. Her trainer doesn’t have too many first time out two year old winners and her breeding suggests she will improve as a three year old and be a better horse when facing middle distances. One too note for next year!

Thursday 1st October


Horatio Hornblower – Nick Williams – Made a pleasing seasonal reappearance in this three mile Class 3 Handicap Chase to finish second. A useful hurdler, he has only had six starts over fences so he still has potential to progress further in this sphere and should come on for his seasonal reappearance. Both of last two starts have been over three miles but his hurdle wins were achieved over shorter distances and his one chase win was over 2m 6f. He might need a slightly shorter trip to get back into the winners enclosure and is probably at his best with a bit of cut in the ground. It might be worth bearing in mind he didn’t run to well at Cheltenham last season and perhaps he is better suited to a less undulating track but there is a handicap chase in him.

Saturday 3rd October


Clear Skies – David Wachman – Owner J P McManus’s silks are more likely to be seen at Cheltenham than Newmarket but he is having more horses in training on the flat and indeed paid 500k for this daughter of Sea The Stars. Having her third career start in the valuable fillies sale race and although finishing second she was no match for the Aiden O’Brien trained Alice Springs. The juvenile continues to progress and given her sire’s horses seem to do better as three year olds there was a lot to like about her performance over 7f and on ground that would have been plenty quick enough. A half sister to Derby winner Motivator she is bred to appreciate and improve when facing middle distances next year.


Boomerang Bob – Charlie Hills – Was an eyecatcher back in June but after failing to win any of his next three races I took him out of my tracker. A 2-28 win record isn’t great but he has plenty of ability and has run well in defeat on numerous occasions including a ¼ length second to Bushcraft at Windsor in June. He did well in the Ayr Silver Cup a week earlier and although he could only finish 7th here he was only beaten 3 ½ lengths after being held up at the back and not getting the clearest of runs inside the final furlong. The six year old hasn’t had many tries on the all weather with 1 win & 1 place from 4 runs. He should stay on the same handicap mark after this and there is surely a race on the all weather, over 6f, for him sooner rather than later.

Good luck with your betting this week and as ever if you have any questions or comments leave a message and I will reply to them in next week’s article.

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.

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