Saturday 19

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

Quick Returner Ready To Strike At Kempton

18th January 2019, 09:59

Consistent Type To Get His Head In Front With Clear Run

Horse Racing Previews

Meydan Preview

17th January 2019, 12:13

Our regular Meydan columnist has selections and analysis from two of the handicaps at tonight's Carnival meeting.

Horse Racing Previews

Positive Attitude To Pay Off For Deutsch Mount

17th January 2019, 12:06

Progressive Hurdler To Take The Prize At Market Rasen

Horse Racing Previews

Progressive Sprinter Set To Rise Above Opposition

16th January 2019, 09:15

Improving Four-Year-Old Ready To Strike Again

Horse Racing Previews

Kirby Mount Hard to Beat

15th January 2019, 14:42

Quick Returner Has His Optimum Conditions Again

Horse Racing Previews

Better Than Gold In Welsh Affair

14th January 2019, 10:28

Veteran To Benefit From Quick Return

Recent Sport Headlines

Newcastle United

Benitez keeps calm ahead of Cardiff visit

18th January 2019, 19:34

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez says the visit of Cardiff on Saturday is important but will not define his side's season.


Benfica reject Liverpool move for starlet

18th January 2019, 19:24

Liverpool have reportedly seen a £62million bid for 19-year-old forward Joao Felix rejected by Benfica.

Rugby Union

Dillane proud to pen extension

18th January 2019, 19:05

Connacht lock Ultan Dillane has revealed his delight after putting pen to paper on a contract extension.


Trump sets sights on Masters glory

18th January 2019, 19:03

Judd Trump hopes he can go all the way at the Masters after beating Mark Selby 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.

Rugby League

Watkins to return for Rhinos

18th January 2019, 18:41

Kallum Watkins will make his first appearance for Leeds Rhinos since May against Castleford in Sunday’s testimonial.

Formula 1

Formula 1 has changed for 'rookie' Kubica

18th January 2019, 18:40

Williams driver Robert Kubica says he feels like a rookie going into the 2019 Formula 1 season after his injury nightmare.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ever-present defender to miss out

18th January 2019, 18:30

Wolves defender Willy Boly will miss his first Premier League game of the season on Saturday when Leicester come to town.

Newcastle United

Defensive duo face late tests

18th January 2019, 18:29

Newcastle duo Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark will need to come through late fitness tests to feature against Cardiff.