Last Updated: 13/10/17 2:24pm
Finian’s Oscar (left) in action at Punchestown
Finian’s Oscar will face three rivals on his chasing debut in the totequadpot Novices’ Chase at Chepstow on Saturday.
One of last season’s leading novice hurdlers with two Grade One wins to his name, Colin Tizzard has wasted no time in sending him over the bigger obstacles given he came from the pointing fields.
There had been a slight
doubt about his appearance when the ground was drying earlier in the week, but Tizzard’s son and assistant Joe was happy with what he saw when he walked the course midweek.
“I walked the course on Wednesday and they’ve obviously caught all the rain as it was beautiful, winter ground,” said Tizzard jnr.
“Bryan Cooper was in on Thursday morning and had a sit on him and schooled him over half a dozen fences. He was really good, so it’s all systems go.
“He’s schooled a few times and has run in a point-to-point. He’s obviously been well prepped for that. He’s been a natural from day one.
“He always jumped his hurdles a little big, so we were keen to get him over fences. He’s summered well and has filled out a bit more, we couldn’t be happier and are looking forward to getting going.
“Right from day one he’s been very professional – he doesn’t overdo anything, he wastes no energy. If you ask for a bit more he gives you a bit more.”
Paul Nicholls’ Summer Plate winner Alcala, Dan Skelton’s Aintree My Dream and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Tintern Theatre are his opponents.
In the feature Totepool Silver Trophy, the Tizzard team is represented by Alary, who could not replicate his fine French form after switching to Britain last season.
“We still haven’t got to the bottom of Alary, but he’s filled out a bit as he was a big frame of a horse,” Tizzard told At The Races.
“He’s doing some lovely pieces of work, like last year, and dad and I certainly haven’t written him off.
“Hopefully this year we’ll see the best of him.”
The favourite is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Wholestone, a thoroughly admirable novice last season who emerged best of the British when third in the Albert Bartlett.
“We won the race last year with Ballyoptic and we’re hoping to repeat the dose,” said Twiston-Davies.
“He was just about the best staying novice in England last season, only two Irish horses beat him at the Festival and he has a similar profile to Ballyoptic.
“If all goes well here, we’d be looking at the three-mile (West Yorkshire) Hurdle at Wetherby.
“He’s running off 145 and I’d like to think he’s a good bit better than that.”
Harry Fry’s Bags Groove, Alan King’s River Frost and Jedd O’Keeffe’s Sam Spinner are others with strong claims.
Tizzard’s Sizing Codelco tops the weights in the toteexacta Handicap Chase after wins at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring.
“Sizing Codelco has a mark of 160 already and Native River won the Hennessy off 155,” said Tizzard.
“He won two big handicaps at Aintree and Punchestown and he’s been handicapped accordingly. Hopefully he hasn’t won his handicaps already.
“He likes galloping tracks so Chepstow should suit. We hope he’s our Hennessy horse.”
Similar comments apply to Alan King’s Label Des Obeaux, winner of three of his last four, while Indian Stream and Potters Legend are others to note.