Weekly Eyecatchers – Horse Racing

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Another good week for the eyecatchers with 6 wins from just 16 bets with a nice level stakes profit to bank just in time for the start of horse racing’s turf flat season and of course the Grand National meeting at Aintree next week. The highlight of the wins for me was Alben Star who took the sprint on All Weather Finals Day on Good Friday at Lingfield.

As I mentioned in last weeks column there won’t be too many tracker horses in the next few weeks and this week I just have the two for you. A quick heads up if you are an Eyecatcher Pro subscriber I will be adding a few extra eyecatchers for each day of the Aintree’s Grand National Festival just like I did at Cheltenham!

Before looking at this week’s eyecatchers I will begin with a brief look at the weekends racing at Kempton and Fairyhouse.

Weekend Review – Kerry Shows she’s is a Grade 1 Trainer!

Like last year trainer Mark Johnson showed that he has his two year old ready to go early as he took both divisions of the maiden fillies’ race just like he did last year. Boater and Chupalla are the juvenile’s names and they both won their races in good style. Both are open to any amount of improvement and could really progress well in the coming months and make up into smart two year olds.

The listed Magnolia Stakes was won by the William Haggas trained Our Channel. It wasn’t the strongest of renewals but the performance that interested me most came from the horse finishing in 4th place Restorer trained by William Muir. The four year old had training issues last year and was only seen on the track once when winning a listed race over 1m 2f at Newmarket in October. He was weak in the betting before the race and was very keen during in it but this was a solid reappearance in the circumstances and he is open to further progress this year if his trainer can keep him sound.

Sunday saw the First Day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Jer’s Girl repaid some of the money recently laid out by owner J P McManus to buy the filly when staying on to strongly for her ten rivals in the Grade 1 Mares Novice’s Hurdle. This was her trainer’s first Grade 1 winner and really advertised the training skills of up and coming handler Gavin Cromwell. Stepping up to 2m 4f was no problem to this likeable filly and the Punchestown Festival now looks a likely next step for the juvenile who will give a good account of herself in whatever race she is aimed at.

The days feature race the Ryanair Gold Cup Novices Chase over 2m 4f also went the way of a trainer having their first Grade 1 winner. This time it was the delightful Kerry Lee whose Kylemore Lough won the race in good style to continue his rapid improvement since going chasing. His form figures are now 31111 over the larger obstacles and he showed that he doesn’t need the mud to go well. I will be interesting to see if he gets further than 2m 4f in time and he is another who will head to Punchestown as long as the ground isn’t too quick.

Lincoln Handicap Pointers

It’s the Limcoln Handicap on Saturday at Doncaster. I have already advised the Jeremy Noseda Keystroke at 16/1 for the race and the horse is now as low as 10/1. Still he will need a few to come out of the race to get in as he is number 29 but it seems likely he will. Another horse that’s worth noting for the race, if he gets in, is the Jedd O’Keeffe trained Instant Attraction. The five year old stays the mile and likes some cut in the ground, both career wins on turf have come on soft, and the horse is 2 wins 6 places from 8 runs when soft appears in the going description. Ran well to be a close up 3rd over 7f at last years Lincoln meeting and his trainer usually has his runners well forward in April. Can go well at a big price!

This Weeks Eyecatchers

Both of this week’s eyecatchers come from the first Irish turf meeting of the new season held at the Curragh on Sunday.

Friday 25th March


Red Baron – Eric Alston – The seven year old was much improved handicap sprinter last year on the turf and on the evidence of his first run since running down the field at Longchamp last September he is set for another good season and looks capable of winning another decent pot this season. Given all his 8 career wins have come when running within 15 days of his last run this was a good first run. He just found a well handicapped and progressive Mark Johnson three year old too good here. Likes a flat track, is 4/11 7 places at Musselburgh, interestingly has run well at York without winning 0/3 2 places, and he also has no problems with quick going is 4/11 on good to firm.

Saturday 26th March


Dutch Uncle – Ed Dunlop – Ran well in a couple of three year old handicaps last year but was no match for an improving four year old Barsanti from the Roger Varian yard. Time may well show that he was taking on a very good horse in this race. The four year old was just a 1lb higher than for his 3 3/4 length 3rd to the smart Time Test at Newbury and was only beaten 3 lengths by Jack Hobbs as a two year old. Gelded since his last run and lightly raced, this was only his 11th career start. There should be a handicap in the horse over 1m 2f plus on turf sooner rather than later.

Next weeks column will not include a review of the Lincoln meeting but I will take a look at some potential Aintree eyecatchers.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable betting week with Lincoln Handicap on Saturday one to look forward too.

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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