Oscara Dara finished a close 2nd on his chase debut at Plumpton last month and plans are very much in motion for the next step on the chasing ladder.
Here is Phil Boyle (major share holder in the Oscara Dara partnership) with all the inside info on his chasing debut and what the plans are going forward from here…
Oscara Dara: Water Water Everywhere!
Woke up on the 17th December (Oscara Dara’a chasing debut) to find that it was overcast but not raining! No hope at all of anything but very soft ground at Plumpton but, after Punchestown, we did at least know that Oscara Dara handles that OK. An early start today since the first race was just after midday and I need to be on the course early to sort out badges for my fellow partner owners.
No problem getting to the course, although it is definitely off the beaten track. Several miles of very splashy country lanes made me very glad that we were not having to drive a horsebox to the track. Arrived to find Nicky’s box already parked up and not far away was the familiar blue horsebox from Henfold Stables which used to transport Oscara to the races. The car park attendant cheerfully informed me that Nicky’s other runner was out, but that our still runs. Just as well really, not sure I would have been too impressed if he had known Oscara Dara was a non runner before the owners did!
Sorted out the badge payments and went to find the owners and trainers bar. Met Mark from Henfold who confirmed that he did not think that the David Arbuthnot trained runner would be in the same league as Oscara Dara. Mark thought Oscara was a good thing even if I was not quite so bullish. The lady behind the bar in Owners and Trainers expressed similar confidence; where were these people getting their information from!?
After a couple of cups of coffee and a chat with some of the BG Racing partners we went out to the paddock to watch the runners for the first race and then watched the race itself. It was then straight over to the pre parade where Alex was already walking Oscara Dara around. A quick chat confirmed that our lad was flying at home and had schooled really well. Alex seemed really confident that if he jumped round then he would run a big race.
In the saddling boxes, Oscara Dara seemed unusually on edge. Normally very calm and professional, he was very feisty, stamping his hoof on the concrete. Hopefully this is not a bad sign, but he definitely seemed more on edge than usual.
David Bass joined us in the paddock and confirmed that he had been happy to lead if necessary, but that he had found out that Andrew Tinkler was planning to lead on Dark and Dangerous. I asked David to concentrate on how well Oscara Dara was travelling at the end of the race as I wanted to understand how far we should step him up in trip next time if necessary. We all felt that 2 miles was on the sharp side, but the heavy ground would be slowing them down and hopefully he would still have the class to win well.
Before we knew it they were off and with Dark and Dangerous leading and Cantlow and Oscara Dara close up, the first circuit was soon complete. Oscara Dara was not the quickest of the three, but he looked to be jumping steadily and safely. As they turned down the back, suddenly my brain started to feed in warning bells. David (Bass) was not looking like Oscara was going well and suddenly it became clear that he was not and David was pushing him hard to keep tabs on the leaders. He seemed however to be responding as they approached the ditch at the far end of the course especially after Cantlow tried to take the previous fence with him and was lucky to stay upright.
The ditch was not handled well though with Oscara Dara corkscrewing his back end in the air and losing a couple of lengths again. This put the pressure straight back on as David started to chase him again. Turning in and the pressure was telling in a positive way as Oscara drew alongside Dark and Dangerous and closed in on Cantlow. Coming down to the last, it looked for a few strides like he might sweep past, but again he was out-jumped at the last and the run in was not long enough to give him any hope of rallying again.
I have to admit I was gutted. I was sure that if he jumped soundly then he would win. I was trying to keep my feet on the ground, but had failed and the defeat left a bitter taste. Did that mean that Oscara Dara was not as good as we hoped? Surely he should have been able to win that race even at 2 miles?
David was quite upbeat and positive in the unsaddling. He certainly felt that Oscara Dara should be stepped up to 2 miles 4 or even 2 miles 6 furlongs. He confirmed that he had stayed really well, but had been completely outpaced down the back straight. It still felt like a big disappointment however and with no real interest in the rest of the card, we stayed for only three more races before heading for home.
Nicky called later that evening and was certainly more upbeat that I had been. He felt that Cantlow was probably much better than he had previously shown and that finishing that close to him was probably very decent. He agreed that a step up in trip was needed and we resolved to get cracking on finding a suitable race.
Oscara Dara came out of the race really well and possible second run options were reviewed with the favoured options being Wincanton on the 5th and Huntingdon on the 11th January. Then however the weather intervened! Nicky feels that Oscara will benefit from jumping out of better ground and the ground at the moment is anything but better! We have decided that we need to sit out and wait for better ground. The fingers are now well and truly crossed for a dry spell and some improved ground conditions.
(Note from Ben: Phil tells me that Oscara has/will have entries at Doncaster this Wednesday and Huntingdon this Friday)
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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
Let’s hope that the rain relents enough for Oscara to take his chance at one of his 2 possible engagements this week.