Oscar Time warms up for he Grand National with Doncaster run
Oscar Time can warm up for another Grand National outing with victory in the BetBright Cheltenham Festival Fund Veterans' Handicap Chase at Doncaster.
Robert Waley-Cohen's charge showed that despite his advancing years, he is no back number when landing the Becher Chase over the National fences back in December.
It was little surprise to see him handle those obstacles with aplomb given he has been placed in two Grand Nationals in the past, but his evident enjoyment of racing is what sets him apart from other 14-year-olds.
His outings over regulation fences has been limited of late but two hunter chase wins last spring show he can still operate under those conditions and he can see off some marginally younger rivals here.
It looks a cracking card on Town Moor and real Cheltenham clues are on offer in the BetBright Best Odds Guaranteed Open Hunters' Chase.
Just a four-runner field but familiar names in Quinz and Calgary Bay plus the very interesting Paint The Clouds, who was a promising novice back in his younger days before a couple of lengthy spells on the sidelines.
He made a real impact when sent hunter chasing in the first part of last year and if retaining his ability should take this on the way to the championship event at the Festival next month.
Roll The Dice is nothing if not consistent and his admirable attitude should see him in the mix once again in the Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap Chase at Ludlow.
Festive Fare snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on his racecourse bow and looks the one to follow in the 32Red Casino Handicap at Kempton.
Charlie Appleby's charge hails from the family of Group One winner Dilshaan and Listed performer Darrfonah, so there is clearly more than a hint of ability on the pedigree side.
Festive Fare did not run as a juvenile but sent for a Lingfield maiden last month, the 150,000 guineas Teofilo colt was well supported to make a winning debut.
However, his supporters must have thought their money was lost as Festive Fare showed his inexperience by running wide throughout and failing to handle the home turn at all.
He found an extra gear when the field straightened up though and while he only won by a head, he was surely good value for the margin given the route he took.
Festive Fare starts life in this sphere off a mark of 84 and while that perch leaves him well short of justifying his Investec Derby entry just yet, he looks the type who can make plenty of progress in due course.
The Third Man can give trainer Henry Spiller a first success in the 32Red.com Handicap.
This Dalakhani gelding showed glimmers of promise in three outings for John Gosden last year before being snapped up for 23,000 guineas by Spiller at Tattersalls last July.
Given plenty of time by new connections, The Third Man became Spiller's first runner when lining up at Lingfield last month and he again showed that not all hope is lost.
He completely missed the break that day and raced wide throughout, neither of which would have helped a horse who probably also needed the run after such a long lay off.
Beaten just four and a quarter lengths at the finish, the handicapper has also eased The Third Man by 1lb which only augments his already decent chance.
Coursing has taken a 12lb hike in the ratings since her last outing but still looks a likely winner of the 32Red Handicap at Lingfield.
The Kyllachy filly showed nothing as a juvenile last year but has really come into her own now trainer Sir Mark Prescott has equipped her with blinkers this term.
She really impressed when winning by three and a half lengths over six furlongs at Wolverhampton last month before following up under a penalty just under two weeks later.
Coursing showed she is equally capable over five furlongs with that victory and even with her jump in the ratings, she might still have a little in hand of the handicapper.
DONCASTER: 2.20 Skylander, 2.55 Devilment, 3.25 Oscar Time, 3.55 Rathlin Rose, 4.25 PAINT THE CLOUDS (NAP), 4.55 Micks Lad.
KEMPTON: 5.40 Pearl Noir, 6.10 The Third Man, 6.40 Par Three, 7.10 Triple Chocolate, 7.40 Festive Fare, 8.10 Katmai River.
LINGFIELD: 2.00 Tarooq, 2.30 Boboli Gardens, 3.05 Steady Major, 3.35 Toast Of Newbury, 4.05 Coursing, 4.35 Darrell Rivers, 5.05 Elle Shade.
LUDLOW: 2.10 Dan Emmett, 2.45 Royal Redemption, 3.15 Roll The Dice, 3.45 Kerryhead Storm, 4.15 Qasser, 4.45 Twirling Magnet, 5.15 Mighty Missile.
PUNCHESTOWN: 2.05 Merry Westerner, 2.35 Boris De Blae, 3.10 Analifet, 3.40 Mr Eko, 4.10 Kymin's Way, 4.40 Oscar Sam, 5.10 Jett.
DOUBLE: Paint The Clouds and Festive Fare.