horse racing

Owners Insight – Oscara Dara: I love it when a plan comes together! (Even Plan B!!)

It wasn’t the original plan but Oscara Dara’s breathtaking victory in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton show’s the benefit of being flexible with racing plans.

Major shareholder in the Oscara Dara partnership Phil Boyle has finally calmed down enough from the excitement of his pride and joy winning a big Saturday afternoon race and kindly provides us with his thoughts from the build up to the Lanzarote Hurdle, as well as his thoughts from the day itself.

What A Difference A Week Makes

Most of this is content that I posted on my blog over at but it is interesting to pull it together to see the ups and downs of racehorse ownership even over a short period of time. 

Sunday 6th January 

Finally getting past the wet weather that plagued New Year and with Oscara Dara double entered in Novice Chases this week, he schools this morning at Seven Barrows.  He does not jump as well as Nicky would have liked.  No reason to have any long term concerns, he jumps accurately; he is just not jumping as quickly as Nicky would like.  The suggestion is that we either delay running him until he has had another few sessions or we take advantage of the fact that he is ready to run by putting him back over hurdles.  In my mind, this feels like a step back (not sure why) but we would rather be racing than have a horse that is fit and well but stuck in his stable.  Not sure what to do for the best, but agree with Nicky that we should enter the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton the following weekend, so we at least have a Plan B. 

Tuesday 8th January 

Schooling goes similarly and after a bit of discussion we agree to shelve chasing for the time being.  There is plenty of time for schooling over the summer and Oscara Dara will still be a novice next season assuming he does not win a chase over the remainder of the season.  The dreams of running in the Jewson or the RSA Chase are gone and it would appear that the best we can hope for is run in some handicap hurdles.  Consolation is that on the bright side he might still get to the big end of season festivals, even if only in handicap company.  My sheet of novice chase details that I was plotting possible races for the rest of the season on suddenly seems like scrap paper! 

Wednesday 9th January 

Frustration heightens as Overturn wins the novice chase that Oscara Dara was entered in at Doncaster.  The runners in that race mean that the make-up of the Huntingdon race on Friday that Oscara Dara would have run in is now looking pretty ordinary.  It looks like it would have been pretty likely that he would have been well up to winning it based on his Plumpton formline, especially after Cantlow won again on Monday. 

Thursday 10th January 

Attention turns to the Lanzarote as Oscara Dara schools back over hurdles and goes well.  We are hopeful that he might improve for stepping up in trip (Ben’s dosage figures suggest this will be the case) and he might have improved anyway as he is still lightly raced.  If both turn out to be true, then it is possible that he is well handicapped.  I consider taking the 12-1 on offer but change my mind.  If he wins, I won’t care about the bet, but if he loses, I will be disappointed AND I will have a losing bet!  Not sure what to expect, I can see him winning, but the race is competitive and I am not sure what his chances of doing so really are. 

Saturday 12th January 

Back at the races and it is good to be there with a runner in a big race and whilst it is not what we expected, we have a live contender for a big Saturday afternoon race and to be honest that was the dream four years ago when we bought the horse.  During the race, I am really pleased with where Barry has Oscara Dara positioned and as they begin the turn for home, I can scarcely believe how well he is going.  It is like watching Sandown again between the last two flights as he just strolls away from the field.  A slip and a slide at the last gave cause for concern, but it all happens quickly and in no time Barry has gathered him up and still has time to drop his hands before the line.

Suddenly we are back riding the wave of excitement that follows a big race win, debrief from the jockey, presentation, winners room to watch a re-run of the race etc.  Lots of really happy owners, loads of text messages and voice-mails everything happening at a million miles per hour. 

Now off to print off a list of decent 2m 4f plus hurdles for the rest of the season.  Nice when everything goes to plan, even if it is Plan B! 

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 –

With this big race victory under his belt lets hope OSCARA DARA can bring more joy and big races wins to the BG Racing Partnership before the season is out.

Ben (NTF)

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