Wednesday 18

Horse Racing Previews

Tizzard charge to recapture best form

22nd December 2017, 09:29 by Will Rooney

The top-class schedule over the Christmas period starts at Ascot this afternoon and the Grade 2 Mitie Noel Novices' Chase is the centrepiece contest.

All eyes will be on FINIAN'S OSCAR who is looking to bounce back to winning ways. Colin Tizzard thinks the world of his son of Oscar and he is stepping his charge back up in trip to 2m 5f, which will suit the gelding significantly. Finian's Oscar was an impressive novice hurdler last term and delivered a dominant performance to win the Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. Chasing has always been the aim for the five-year-old, though, and his debut over fences at Chepstow was foot perfect and he cruised to an 11-length success. Tizzard's charge made a blunder at the first fence on his second chase start in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham yet he and jockey Bryan Cooper remained composed and Finian's Oscar motored up the Prestbury Park hill to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Given he needed almost every yard in that success, it was somewhat surprising connections dropped the gelding back in trip for the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown earlier this month. The stiff jumping test over two miles didn't suit Finian's Oscar's attributes and he finished a 61-length third. However, Tizzard should have learned from that mistake and will expect a much better performance. Finian's Oscar enjoys cut in the ground and the gelding shows an 89% better than expected strike rate on soft or heavy.

Paul Nicholls won the affair last year with his classy chaser Politologue and will be hoping for a repeat performance with DOLOS. The four-year-old is getting weight for age and has the scope to improve after just one chase start. Dolos earned an official rating of 135 over hurdles but is bred to thrive over larger obstacles. He made his chase debut at Ascot last time and his effort was plenty impressive. Although Sizing Tennesse's fall left Dolos to go clear, Harry Cobden always looked confident on board the son of Kapgarde and the gelding cruised to a 29-length success. Dolos tops BTO+ ratings going into the race and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies shows a 51% better than expected win rate over the course and distance.

The final runner in the small but competitive contest is BENATAR. Gary Moore's charge was defeated by Finian's Oscar at Aintree but has improved for fences and looks a different beast. The son of Beneficial displayed his inexperience on his chase debut at Ascot last month but still battled to a three-and-three-quarter length success. However, Benatar gained a great education from that effort and showed his class at Plumpton last time to dispatch Keeper Hill, a subsequent Grade 2 winner, by nine lengths. That form is rock solid and arguably the strongest heading into the Mitie Noel. Benatar already has a course and distance victory under his belt and Moore and his son, Jamie, boast a 129% better than expected strike rate when teaming up at the Berkshire venue.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Will Rooney

More Horse Racing Previews

Horse Racing Previews

Following Procedure at Bath

17th July 2018, 09:18

A Cheveley Park filly made a taking impression at Leicester last time and could be hard to beat in follow up bid.

Horse Racing Previews

Conditions Just Right For Luis To Get Back To Winning Ways

15th July 2018, 20:07

Return To Ayr To Suit Six Year Old

Horse Racing Previews

You Can Trust This One At Hamilton

14th July 2018, 09:04

Repeat On The Cards For Three Year Old

Horse Racing Previews

Henderson Hurdler Set For Repeat Win

13th July 2018, 09:40

Quick Return To Pay Dividends

Horse Racing Previews

Might Be Difficult To Pass The Buck At Leopardstown

12th July 2018, 09:56

Keane Mount To Take Advantage Of Weight Concession

Horse Racing Previews

A Place In The Sun At Catterick

11th July 2018, 08:53

Harker Veteran Looking Good For First Win At The Distance

Recent Sport Headlines

Swansea City

Potter reflects on summer so far

18th July 2018, 19:08

Graham Potter has declared himself satisfied with pre-season so far after Swansea beat Newport County in a friendly on Wednesday.


Rolan heads for exit door

18th July 2018, 19:07

Diego Rolan has completed his transfer to Deportivo La Coruna for a reported six million euros, ending a five-year spell at Bordeaux.

Rugby Union

Owen raring to go with Leicester

18th July 2018, 19:06

Gareth Owen says he is looking to move on from an injury-plagued debut season and show Leicester exactly what he can do.


Reed feeling confident ahead of Open test

18th July 2018, 19:03

Patrick Reed feels his strong mental game will give him a huge advantage going into The Open this week.

West Ham United

Obiang keen to play his part

18th July 2018, 18:39

West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang has been working hard over the summer to make sure he's fully fit following his knee injury.


Reds dealt huge Oxlade-Chamberlain blow

18th July 2018, 18:29

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to miss most of the upcoming season due to a serious knee injury.


Gray's goals for Hornets' season

18th July 2018, 17:34

Andre Gray says he wants to help fire Watford into contention for a European place in the upcoming season.


Stage 11 win earns Thomas yellow jersey

18th July 2018, 17:21

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas has taken the yellow jersey after winning stage 11 of the Tour de France with a superb ride.