Finian’s Os­car strength­ens Tiz­zard’s Fes­ti­val hand

Tol­worth Hur­dle win­ner on course for Chel­tenham Veteran Pete The Feat scores in valu­able chase

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - SPORT - Mar­cus Armytage RAC­ING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The new year has be­gun in the same way that the old one fin­ished for Colin Tiz­zard. The only dif­fer­ence was that in the Grade One he won yes­ter­day, he wel­comed a novice hur­dler back to the win­ners’ en­clo­sure rather than a chaser, but suc­cess has been busy breed­ing suc­cess down at Venn Farm.

Finian’s Os­car’s fu­ture will one day be over fences but the Alan Pottsowned novice hur­dler, bought for £250,000 in the au­tumn, proved five lengths too good for his near­est ri­val, Capitaine, in the 32Red Tol­worth Hur­dle at Sandown and rel­ished the test­ing ground that has been some­thing of a rar­ity so far this win­ter.

Though Tiz­zard ad­mit­ted he had not ex­pected the five-year-old to win with quite such author­ity, pun­ters clearly thought he would, send­ing him off the well-backed 11-10 favourite.

“He’s a beau­ti­ful, young horse,” said the trainer. “We didn’t know he would win like that. He’d only won a point-to-point but it was the way he won his novice hur­dle at Here­ford. We thought why waste an­other run in a small race?

“He soon went five lengths clear and when he stut­tered into the last you slightly won­dered if he’d get caught but he kept on. Tom Malone [the blood­stock agent] put him up to us and there were some good peo­ple af­ter him. It’s made the game a lot eas­ier for us buying lovely young horses ready to go on. We used have to buy ‘stores’ and wait three years for them.”

He added: “Chel­tenham’s where we want to be. Do we need to run again? Prob­a­bly. I don’t know if he’s a two or two-and-a-half miler but some­one will prob­a­bly tell me.” His Here­ford win was over two and three-quar­ters but yes­ter­day’s was over two and, if Tiz­zard is look­ing for ad­vice from the book­mak­ers then, look­ing ahead to the Fes­ti­val, they have Finian’s Os­car at 6-1 for the Nep­tune but dou­ble that for the shorter Supreme.

Go­ing to the last in the day’s most valu­able race it looked like Tiz­zard’s The­atri­cal Star might win the 32Red Vet­er­ans’ Hand­i­cap Chase Fi­nal but, be­ly­ing his 13 years, Pete The Feat had nipped through to lead at the Pond fence and Char­lie Longs­don’s 20-1 shot showed the de­ter­mi­na­tion of a horse half his age to hang on by two lengths, with his sta­ble com­pan­ion, Loose Chips, in third. But for the veteran se­ries of races Pete The Feat would have been long re­tired. In­stead, with £46,000 to the win­ner, he was claim­ing the big­gest prize of his ca­reer.

“He’s had end­less prob­lems,” said Longs­don. “But he’s rid­den out by a 70-year-old, Wilf Rayer, and it’s the two old boys to­gether. The horse is a yob and Wilf lets him push him around and get away with mur­der and its prob­a­bly why the horse en­joys him­self so much.

“We haven’t had a win­ner since mid-De­cem­ber oth­er­wise I ex­pect he would have been half the price. They’ve been run­ning well and to form but with­out win­ning. Loose Chips has also run a bril­liant race in third. He had to have three weeks off af­ter his last start and has only been back in work 10 days.”

At just 24, Amy Mur­phy, Bri­tain’s youngest trainer, is some way off the veteran stage but her ca­reer, less than three months old, is al­ready go­ing great guns. She is based in New­mar­ket and Mer­cian Prince be­came her sev­enth win­ner so far when tak­ing the 32Red Hand­i­cap Chase by two lengths from All To­gether.

The chaser, owned by her father, Paul, and bred by him in France, could now go to Chel­tenham Tri­als Day at the end of the month for the novices’ hand­i­cap chase.

Chel­tenham-bound: Finian’s Os­car sur­prised con­nec­tions with the ease of his vic­tory in the Grade One Tol­worth Hur­dle at Sandown

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.