Check out the latest week's Timeform Eyecatchers and add them to your free My Stable tracker, including Hurricane Ivor at Ascot on Saturday.
Pearls Galore ran out a ready winner of the Brownstown Stakes, the feature race on Sunday’s card at Fairyhouse. In truth, she probably didn’t need to improve on the smart form she had shown previously to make the breakthrough in pattern company, but it was still an impressive display which tees her up nicely for a productive campaign in races of this ilk.
Similar comments apply to the fourth-placed Soul Search, who was beaten nearly five lengths but looked unlucky not to finish closer given how things developed. She was hampered in some early scrimmaging and got shuffled back towards the rear of the field. Things got even worse as she then found herself short of room when attempting to deliver her challenge in the straight, needing to be switched towards the outside to get a clear run. She stayed on well and made up several positions in the final furlong, but the damage had already been done as the winner, who was ridden much closer to the pace, quickened a couple of lengths clear of her closest pursuers.
Admittedly, Soul Search is in danger of becoming frustrating given that she has now finished in the first four in pattern company ten times without winning. She still has just the one win in a Naas maiden to her name and has even been tried in blinkers but to no avail.
There is no doubt she has the ability to win a race of this nature, though, and her consistency is to be applauded given the company she usually keeps. She is worth persevering with and shapes as if likely to be suited by a return to a mile – she has still made only three starts at that trip, including when second in a Group 2 at the Curragh in May.
The betting got this valuable sprint handicap about right, with the three market leaders all finishing in the first four places. The winner Significantly was sent off the 11/2 favourite and duly made just about every yard of the running in the near-side group to follow up his Royal Ascot victory, while runner-up Hurricane Ivor also emerged with plenty of credit just seven days after sharing the spoils in that controversial photo finish at Sandown.
Hurricane Ivor was one of only seven in a field of 18 who raced towards the far-side rail, tracking the pace set in that group by Nomadic Empire and Showalong. He was still tanking along entering the final two furlongs and quickly put daylight between himself and those he raced with when asked for his effort. Unfortunately for him, however, that wasn’t quite enough to see him defy a 5 lb higher mark than at Sandown as he was involved in a tight finish for the second start in succession, passing the post just a short head behind Significantly.
Hurricane Ivor is still lightly raced for the William Haggas yard and can arguably have this effort marked up given how things developed. For context, he pulled over four lengths clear of the next best in his group, Nomadic Empire, who finished only ninth overall.
A strapping sort, Hurricane Ivor is unlikely to go up much for this and remains a sprint handicapper to be positive about. He is likely to be at least as effective back at six furlongs and will be high on the shortlist if taking up his entry in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, a race his trainer has won twice since 2008.
With just a fair pace throughout, it paid to race handily in this nursery with the winner Robasta and top weight Flaming Rib, who finished a close-up third after making the running, always to the fore. However, splitting that pair, and beaten just a neck behind the winner, was Tyson who did well to get involved in the tight finish from much further back.
Slowly away, he made good headway over a furlong out and, after being short of room briefly in the closing stages, took second on the post, all in all shaping well on his nursery debut. Tyson had been gelded since his last run seven weeks earlier and his Ascot effort was an improvement on his three previous starts for Richard Hannon, with his best performance in the spring coming when again going down by a neck, this time over five furlongs at Doncaster.
Tyson’s a good-topped son of Starspangledbanner, with physical scope, and the way he shaped at Ascot suggests he’s going to be one to be interested in for another nursery in due course.
The opener on Newmarket’s card brought together a mix of two-year-old fillies who had already run, along with some newcomers, and it was those with experience who fared best overall, filling the first three places, with the well-bred Frankel filly Frankella stepping up markedly on previous efforts to get off the mark at the third attempt.
However, there was a pleasing debut behind her in fifth from Sir Michael Stoute’s representative Invigilate. She was soon racing in touch before her inexperience showed as she came off the bridle approaching two furlongs out but, after initially looking as though she might drop out of contention, she kept on again on once meeting the rising ground in the final furlong to be beaten four and a half lengths behind the winner in fifth without Ryan Moore giving her too hard an introduction.
An entry in next month’s Lowther Stakes at York suggests that Invigilate has been showing the right signs at home and her pedigree gives every hope of her developing into an above-average filly. The Juddmonte daughter of Acclamation is a full sister to Expert Eye, who not only won the Breeders’ Cup Mile for the same connections, but had also been a talented two-year-old, winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood impressively on just his second start.
Invigilate is also a half-sister to Clerisy and Duty of Care, both seven-furlong winners for the Stoute stable, so another furlong ought to be in her favour and she looks sure to build on what was a promising debut.
Two-year-old filly Ye Gud Thing has shown improved form in blinkers and a tongue tie since joining Mohamed Moubarak’s Newmarket yard and she shaped better than the bare result in finishing third in this novice at Yarmouth. Her draw in stall one meant she had to race on the outside of the field throughout but she travelled fluently, catching a bump as she made headway under two furlongs out but running on to finish two and a half lengths behind the winner Romantic Time who was able to control things throughout on the stand rail.
A cheaply-bought daughter of Mehmas, Ye Gud Thing was placed in two of her first three starts for Stan Moore but improved on that for her new yard when getting off the mark in another novice at Yarmouth last month. That was over a furlong further than today’s race and she did well to win on that occasion after getting shuffled back. She’d be an interesting runner in a nursery.
Four-year-old Daysaq remains a maiden but he has the ability to win an ordinary handicap for Mark Loughnane before too long judged on his latest eye-catching effort which wasn't his first at Wolverhampton this year.
A well-backed favourite with Richard Kingscote taking over in the saddle from a claimer, Daysaq was slowly into his stride and then found himself short of room on the home turn but he stayed on well out wide to be nearest at the finish, taking fourth place behind all-the-way winner Creek Harbour.
Runner-up at Nottingham two starts ago, Daysaq’s latest return to form suggests he just needs things to drop right to win a similar event. He’d also taken the eye when meeting trouble in running on his previous visit to Wolverhampton in May.
This didn’t look the strongest race of its type on paper beforehand, the ones with experience not setting an exacting standard, so it was good to see newcomer Chimgan make the perfect start to his career. He justified good support for a stable that seems to be hitting form and won with more in hand than the half-length margin suggests.
There was some promise in behind, too, notably the Ron Harris-trained Glamorous Express, who was doing all of his best work at the finish. He is from a family the yard knows well and ran to a similar level as on debut at Windsor last month, but this time looking more comfortable with the pace of the race in the early stages. He was held up in the rear and tracked the eventual winner through the pack once the pace lifted around two furlongs out, not given a hard time once the front two pulled clear and finishing with running left at the line.
Glamorous Express was one of the picks in the paddock beforehand, plenty about him physically, and looks just the type who will keep on improving as he matures. He may be able to pick up an ordinary minor/maiden event, but is very much one to watch out for once qualified for handicaps.
June 28-July 4 - Maglev one to note moving forward for William Haggas
June 21-27 - Clive Cox's juvenile Codify has more to offer in future
June 14-20 - Naval Crown is a horse to take forward from Royal Ascot
June 7-13 - Night Hunter caught the eye at Leicester
May 31-June 6 - To Be Wild was among the latest horses to take the eye
May 24-30 - Eyecatchers from Timeform including Bernardo O'Reilly
May 17-23 - Check out the week's eyecatchers from Timeform including Bezzas Lad
May 10-16 - Including a two-year-old to note from the Sunday meeting at Ripon