Andy Gibson's Eyecatchers: Fontaine Collonges, Good Boy Bobby and more

Andy Gibson's Eyecatchers Service takes a look back at one of 2022's major handicap races as a relevant form guide for what lies ahead for a couple of horses that might have slipped under the radar.

Andy Gibson's Eyecatchers Service

There is usually more upside to noting an interesting performance when you believe the majority are more likely to have missed it. 

Andy's Eyecatchers Service considers horses that may go under the radar for many, some obvious ones, and a few interesting performances from horses I may be keen to oppose on another day.

Spotting winning and losing efforts that may be underestimated or overestimated in the future can be key.

Andy's Eyecatchers Service will be available to trial on Tipstrr from January 14 until the end of the month. Click here for more information

High class handicap form

The form of the Betfair Exchange Handicap Chase at Haydock on November 19, 2022 could hardly have worked out much better.

The winner of the race was the Venetia Williams-trained Fontaine Collonges, who was providing the yard with its first winner of the season.

I suspect the quality of his subsequent performance at Kempton in late December has gone under the radar a little due to the track being more speed oriented than ideal.

More suited to Haydock?

At Kempton, Fontaine Collonges finished best of the pace-setters and can be marked up as such. After racing prominently, he lost his position over the final three fences before the turn for home when the pace increased, before making up many lengths in the home straight to snatch fourth place on the line.

He remains a progressive horse, which will hopefully be less noticed due to this fourth-place finish. He will be better suited to a stiffer test of stamina and could be interesting if returning to compete at Haydock in January or February.

Back to that Haydock race, where the runner up, The Big Breakaway, subsequently finished in the same spot in the Welsh National over the festive period.

The third horse to finish at Haydock was the Henry Daly-trained Rapper, who followed up that strong performance by running away with a Class 2 handicap at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

It's doubtful that the subsequent performances of the front three horses from Haydock have been missed by many.

When to forgive a seemingly disappointing performance

That leads me to hope that the apparently disappointing-looking effort of the fourth horse to finish will help Good Boy Bobby fall under the radar for many.

I have mentioned the importance of deciding when to forgive a disappointing performance before.

The betting markets are fickle and one apparently poor effort can lead to all sorts of opportunities the next time the horse in question returns to the racetrack, assuming that one can see a clear and valid reason for that below-par performance.

I think we have such a situation with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained ten-year-old who was pulled up on his return to Haydock in late December.

Good Boy Bobby was competing over three and a half miles on that latest occasion and was pulled up off the home bend. I thought he had run well for a long way that day before Daryl Jacob presumably felt he would be doing his horse a favour by not forcing him to finish the race.

Having the words 'pulled up' next to a horse's name can often be a big help in the market the next time we see them.

Good Boy Bobby had carried more than 12 stone when trying to concede a stone to Fontaine Collonges in the middle of November.

Prior to that, he had been a most consistent and reliable chaser over the course of several racecourse appearances, running well on his seasonal debut when appearing to need the outing, and was also pulled up on his previous start in the Grand National at Aintree.

I feel confident that the difficult tasks he has been set of late disguise the quality of his overall profile.

Plenty to look forward to with Bobby

He has two obvious target races coming up in the near future, with The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on January 21 and the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster the week after both surely on the minds of his connections.

He has been dropped very quickly by the handicapper from the 150-rating he competed off in the 2022 Grand National to his new mark of 140.

Wherever he turns up in the coming months, I would suggest Good Boy Bobby is a horse worth keeping a quiet eye on.

Learn more about Andy's Eyecatchers Service by visiting Tipstrr

Latest news