herald

Monday 18 December 2017

And the Oscar goes to Finian

Finian’s Oscar and Bryan Cooper win at Cheltenham yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Finian’s Oscar and Bryan Cooper win at Cheltenham yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Finian's Oscar continued to live up to his high expectations after making it two from two over fences with a poignant success in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

After making a winning debut over fences at Chepstow last month, the Colin Tizzard-trained five-year-old defied an 8lbs penalty for that success in the colours of late owners Ann and Alan Potts.

Tizzard said: "He looked like he'd lost it, but then he jumped the last on a long stride and stayed on beautifully. In the end he's won quite cosily and he always has something left in the locker.

"He's a beautiful creature and you've got to remember he was giving 8lb to good horses."

Looking to options at the Festival in March, he said: "The JLT is attractive at this stage, but a fast-run Arkle might as well and that is the more prestigious race.

"Everyone connected will love that and it's magical moment for everyone concerned."

The pecking order among Nicky Henderson's newest recruits may still be taking shape, but On The Blind Side demonstrated his talents when claiming a hard-fought success in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Henderson said of the 9-2 winner: "He was not travelling as well as he ought to have been. I think the Albert Bartlett it is fair to say is a target.

Lovely

"I would rather mind him as he is a lovely, big horse, but if we can find a way to the Albert Bartlett that would be great."

Tom Scudamore may not have been the greatest fan of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase heading into the race but that opinion changed when getting Kingswell Theatre, trained by his brother, Michael, home by three quarters of a length.

The winning jockey said: "Having been a cynic of the race for a long time he has given me a tremendous thrill."

His brother added of the 14-1 winner: "We know he stays as he won the Devon National. Fair play to Tom. He got it spot on with the French coming at him.

"It's been a long old summer and we have not had a great time of things. To come here and get off the cold list means a lot.

"He'll probably come back here for the race in December and he could creep into the National."

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