Nicky Henderson and the Oscara Dara partners have been scouring the racing calender in search of a suitable opening for their exciting 7yo and tomorrow (17th December) is the day of reckoning. The 2m1f Novices’ Chase at Plumpton has been chosen as the starting point for Oscara Dara’s chasing career and all being well he will be soaring over the fences at around 1.00pm tomorrow.
Make no bones about it, this horse could easily be good enough to grace the top novice chases at the end of season festival’s at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown but first he will need to show that he can jump fences with pace and fluency at racing pace around Plumpton.
Here is Phil Boyle (major share holder in the Oscara Dara partnership) with all the inside scoop on the build up to tomorrow’s chasing debut…
Oscara Dara: Chasing debut in sight…
Thought it was about time I did another update for anyone that is interested and hopefully if Ben can get it posted in time, it will be a very topical update.
It was a bit frustrating if truth be told, a visit to Down Royal to watch Paul Nicholls clean up their two big races and then a weekend in the Cotswolds to watch the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham, all with the wish that we were able to see Oscara Dara out there in action.
The good news started to come from Seven Barrows though with Nicky Henderson reporting that Oscara Dara was doing really well and finally the time came around top plan a race for him.
Didn’t realise how difficult that was going to be as it seems that Novice Chases are a little bit less abundant than novice hurdles. A search in early December of all 2 mile and 2 and a half mile novice chases only yielded about 15 races that Oscara Dara was qualified for and by the time those in the North of the country were eliminated it was down to a race every couple of days.
Fortunately I was able to chat to Nicky one afternoon and we eventually settled on the 2 mile 1 furlong novice chase at Plumpton on Monday 17th December (yep – tomorrow!). We hatched this plan about two weeks ago and then had to put Oscara in at Leicester and Bangor as well as the cold weather was starting to put racing in doubt.
I was surprised to only see 13 entries at the five day stage as I was expecting a bigger field and many of the 13 also had similar engagements as us having been left in at Leicester and Bangor. I checked plans with Nicky who confirmed that he would try to clear his other runners to allow Oscara to run as sole stable representative, but this relied on other races being on and the loss of Leicester was a blow.
It was fingers crossed this morning that Bangor would pass inspection as this would ensure that a couple of other Plumpton rivals would go there instead including our stablemate and Punchestown runner up Malt Master. We were pleased when the card went ahead and arrived early at Cheltenham today to see Malt Master hopefully frank our form. At this point I have to say I was getting very confident that Oscara Dara would be winning on Monday.
Perspective was soon re-established! Malt Master started at 2-5 and never looked like justifying the price finishing a well beaten second and leaving us very subdued with the possibility that our Punchestown form is not what we hoped it was.
Fingers crossed that this was a blip. Terminal who was well beaten in the Punchestown race goes in a Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse tomorrow (Saturday), here’s hoping he gives the form a bit of a boost! (*Terminal ran a solid race in 2nd, beaten only 1/2 a length and finishing almost 2 lengths ahead of Cheltenham Festival winner Alderwood)
One more day to safely negotiate and the hope that Plumpton does not get waterlogged and abandon! If you want to follow the build up to the race, follow my blog over at http://bgracing.wordpress.com and if you have any questions or comments, just post them below!
We’d love to have your support.
Until next time
Thanks as always to Phil for his excellent article and there is more on the BG Racing partnership on Phil’s own Blog – http://bgracing.wordpress.com
Hopefully Oscara Dara puts in a clean round at Plumpton and personally I’m very much looking forward to seeing him jump the larger obstacles and continue progressing where he left off last season.