Timeform Eyecatcher of the Day


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Timeform Eyecatcher: Sunday

LA YAKEL

Third, 1m novice, Nottingham, Sunday 22 May

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There was no great pace on in this novice, but the winner, Secret State, again looked a smart prospect as he asserted close home, while several shaped with promise further back.

Chief amongst them was the third, La Yakel, who was beaten only three and a half lengths despite being caught further back than ideal given how things developed. He also showed signs of greenness, but there was plenty to like about the way he finished his race despite jockey Danny Tudhope resorting to no more than hands-and-heels riding.

La Yakel is bred to be useful – he is by Time Test and related to plenty of winners on the dam's side of his pedigree – and this was certainly a very promising start to his career.

There should be lots more to come with the experience under his belt and he looks banker material for a similar event next time.


Timeform Eyecatcher: Saturday

CONGO RIVER

Second, 6f maiden, The Curragh, Saturday 21 May

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Most of the two-year-olds in this contest were making their debuts, including the Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite Congo River who shaped with plenty of promise in second and looks a banker for a similar event.

Showing plenty of speed throughout, Congo River knuckled down well late on but was edged out in the final hundred yards by fellow newcomer Hellsing from Ger Lyons’ stable to be beaten half a length at the line.

Congo River was a first runner in the British Isles for his sire Mendelssohn who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and UAE Derby for Ballydoyle. Congo River cost plenty too, being a $400,000 yearling, and is out of a half-sister to Switch, a dual Grade 1 winner in the States.


Timeform Eyecatcher: Friday

ASCENDING

Sixth, 1m handicap, Goodwood, Friday 20 May

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The gallop for this three-year-old handicap was on the steady side and, as a result, the first two home, Lawful Command and Spinaround, enjoyed the run of things as they held those positions throughout.

But behind them in sixth there was an eye-catching run from Clive Cox’s handicap debutant Ascending. Racing off the pace, he was denied a run when shaken up to improve and was switched to the near side approaching the final furlong before keeping on well once finally in the clear and finishing with running left.

Ascending had run his best race at two on his final start last year when fourth behind the now useful Wanees in a novice at Salisbury and, although quite speedily bred, had no problems with the extra furlong here, his first start for seven months. He may do better again, and is one to look out for.


Timeform Eyecatcher: Thursday

IKKARI

Second, 7f maiden, Wolverhampton, Thursday 19 May

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This is a fillies maiden to be positive about and Ikkari on her debut shaped especially well in second. She wasn't fancied in the betting (started at 50/1), but she did more than enough to suggest she's up to winning a similar event next time.

Ikkari started slowly but she was soon settled in midfield, running in snatches a little in the first half of the race, and again showing signs of greenness on the home turn.

However, she got a perfect run into the straight on the rail, and started to stay on in eye-catching fashion without being knocked about, short of room inside the final furlong before bursting through on the inside. There is stamina on the dam's side of her pedigree, so will have no problem staying further than a mile in time, and she looks a sure-fire improver next time.


Timeform Eyecatcher: Wednesday

TAZAMAN

Second, 1¾m handicap, Yarmouth, Wednesday 18 May

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Tazaman was easy to back on his first start since October but he shaped well in second, leaving the impression that he's one to look out for with this run under his belt.

This mile-and-three-quarter handicap was run at a steady gallop until the eventual third kicked on a long way out, and that modest early tempo would not have suited Tazaman, who was slowly away but finished to good effect from further back than the winner.

He did well after joining David Loughnane last summer, winning on a couple of occasions and hitting the frame on his other three starts for the yard last year, and he remains on a fair mark.


Timeform Eyecatcher: Tuesday

LIFE'S A BEACH

Second, 7f handicap, Brighton, Tuesday 17 May

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This was just a low-grade handicap but the first two – Attache and Life's A Beach in that order – are both on good marks. First-time blinkers seemed to unlock more ability from the winner, while the runner-up shaped better than the bare result from a long way back for the second start in succession.

Reappearing just six days after an unlucky-in-running fifth at Bath, Life's A Beach was again slowly into stride and that contributed to him being poorly placed early on, in rear and wider on the track than ideal.

He was still widest of all entering the straight and it was to his credit that he ultimately passed the post less than three lengths behind the winner, running on well but never threatening to get on terms.

There is little doubt that Life's A Beach is better than his current mark and he is well worth another chance to prove as much next time, particularly if stepping back up to a mile (likely to progress further at that trip).


Timeform Eyecatcher: Monday

MONTE FORTE

Second, 5f novice, Carlisle, Monday 16 May

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A field of five newcomers went to post for this novice and it was Queen of Deauville who made the perfect start to her career, essentially looking more clued up than her rivals as she kept going well to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

Back in second was the favourite Monte Forte, who was more green than might have been expected given how strongly the market spoke in his favour (backed from 5/2 to 7/5). His inexperience was most apparent shortly after the start as he hung left on the bend and briefly needed to be shaken up to keep tabs on the rest of the field.

Monte Forte still appeared to be labouring somewhat as Queen of Deauville moved to the front entering the final two furlongs, but there was plenty to like about the way he finished his race once the penny dropped, running on well to emerge as much the best of the rest.

By Cotai Glory and a half-brother to a couple of juvenile winners, Monte Forte is a proper two-year-old on pedigree and the way he shaped here suggests there should be races to be won with him in the short-term – indeed, he is very much the type to take a big step forward with this experience under his belt.


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