Friday 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

Time For Cherry Picking In The North East

19th January 2018, 10:05

It Looks Like Two Against The Field In Sprint Handicap

Horse Racing Previews

There Might Be One In The Eye For The Handicapper At Ludlow

18th January 2018, 09:59

Dennis' Stayer Still Has Improvement To Come

Horse Racing Previews

Course And Distance Winner Ready To Strike Again

17th January 2018, 10:15

Ex-French Mare Has Found A Favourite Place In The North East

Horse Racing Previews

Spirits Up For A Winner At Hereford

16th January 2018, 10:11

Flat Maiden Can Break His Duck Over Hurdles

Horse Racing Previews

Improver To Take Novice Hurdle At Sussex Course

15th January 2018, 09:03

Moore Family Ready To Strike Again At Favoured Track

Horse Racing Previews

Plenty Of Space For A Winner

13th January 2018, 15:01

Drop In Class To Get Gelding Back To Winning Ways

Recent Sport Headlines


Michael Flynn believes Newport could have beaten Crawley by bigger margin

19th January 2018, 22:51

Newport manager Michael Flynn believed his side would have scored more goals if they had taken their chances in the 2-1 win over Crawley at Rodney Parade.

Bristol City

Bristol City take a point on the road at Derby

19th January 2018, 22:35

Luke Steele came off the bench to help Bristol City hold promotion rivals Derby to a goalless draw in an incident-packed match at Pride Park.


Newport climb into play-off places with victory over Crawley

19th January 2018, 22:19

Newport County defeated Crawley Town 2-1 at Rodney Parade to lift themselves into the League Two play-off places.


Burnley close to completing Lennon deal

19th January 2018, 19:58

Burnley have agreed an undisclosed fee for Everton winger Aaron Lennon, according to reports in the English media.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs face anxious wait for Lloris

19th January 2018, 19:58

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino may be without goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for Sunday's trip to Southampton.


Saints sweating for Yoshida's fitness

19th January 2018, 19:57

Southampton may be without defender Maya Yoshida for the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Sunday.


Masters semis for Trump

19th January 2018, 19:04

Judd Trump held off a comeback from Shaun Murphy to book his pace in the semi-finals off the Masters with a 6-4 win.

Newcastle United

Newcastle sweating over Gayle's fitness

19th January 2018, 18:57

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez could be without Dwight Gayle for Saturday's game against Manchester City.