With the National Hunt action back in full swing there is no better time than now for NTF guest blogger (and major shareholder in the BG Racing partnership) Phil Boyle to give us an update on his exciting Punchestown Festival winning-Nicky Henderson trained OSCARA DARA.
Does Oscara Dara stay hurdling?
Is the plan now to switch to chasing?
It’s over to Phil for all the news…
Oscara Dara: What’s in store for 2012/13?
It has been a long road but allow me to finally bring you bang up to date. Hopefully this won’t be the last article in this series as I do enjoy the occasional chance to share a story or two and let’s hope that OSCARA DARA creates me many more stories that are worth telling!
We ended last season on a massive high with the novice hurdle win at the Punchestown festival and went into the summer buzzing. I got to spend a fantastic morning driving Nicky Henderson around the Lambourn hills checking up on all of the Seven Barrows stars in their summer homes and we agreed that we would send Oscara Dara over to Ireland for the summer where he stayed with his former trainer, Alan Fleming.
A wet summer in Ireland did not do much for Oscara’s coat but he returned to Seven Barrows in August looking bigger and stronger than ever. Several of the my owners went to the open day at the end of August and heard Nicky speaking very enthusiastically about his hopes for Oscara Dara. There is a video of Oscara being presented at the Open Day on our website over at http://bgracing.wordpress.com
All was going well until the start of September when the guys decided to put Oscara Dara in the spa for some exercise as he was looking a bit stiff. In case you have never seen one (I hadn’t) the horse spa is a bit like a starting stall in size, but with solid walls about 5 feet high. Unfortunately whilst draining the spa after his exercise Oscara Dara decided, somewhat foolishly, that he wanted out. How he scrambled over the top of the door from that confined space, I have no idea, (I guess this might be a good sign for him jumping a fence!) but he did and came down on the concrete on his front knees cutting both quote badly.
Nicky called me after the vet had been to inform me that he felt that Oscara would be OK but would need a few weeks off.
I went down to Seven Barrows again in early October where we had a great morning. The horses were schooling and we saw Barry Geraghty and the other stable jockeys putting many of the residents through their paces. One horse that was not schooling was Oscara Dara. Nicky reported that he was ready to get him back into work, however, which was a good sign. What became apparent, however, was that the injury to Oscara Dara’s knee was very close to being far more serious and any feelings of frustration that we had of been held up were tempered by the fact that at least we had not lost the season or worse.
Nicky reported that he would struggle to get Oscara Dara ready for the end of November, but that a December run is likely and we look forward to getting him back on track and seeing what he can do, hopefully in Novice Chases this season.
Feels good to see the jumps season swing into life and I am looking forward to heading down to Cheltenham for the Open meeting in November. First, however, I go to Down Royal this weekend for the JNWines chase. We got chatting to Jim Nicholson (the JN of JNWine and chairman of Down Royal) at Punchestown in May and he invited us over as his guests for their big race day. Jim was so friendly and an absolutely pleasure to spend time with and we were thrilled to accept the invitation. Really looking forward to ticking off another new course and seeing a big day’s racing.
Further updates on Oscara’s progress will be on my blog at the address above where you can also follow to receive emails when I update it. As ever your comments on this article are welcomed and I look forward to updating you again here soon.
All the best
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 can keep on progressing this term and personally I’m very much looking forward to seeing him over the larger obstacles.