32Red Tolworth Hurdle
|Grade 1, Sandown 14:25
1m 7f 216y, Class 1
|Saturday 7th January 2017|
1 Finian's Oscar 11/10F
2 Capitaine 2/1
3 Chalonnial 8/1
6 ran Distances: 5l, 3¾l, 1¼l
TIME 4m 7.50s (slow by 22.50s)
The Ann and Alan Potts-owned Finian's Oscar was backed into 11/10 favouritism on course and he didn't disappoint backers with a smooth display that had the bookmakers running for cover with the Cheltenham Festival in mind.
Sky Bet went 7/1 about the winner for the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, with Paddy Power and William Hill going 5/1. Coral went as short as 4s for the race.
This was just his second start over hurdles but he travelled into the contest behind the leader Chalonnial beautifully, before he put the race to bed two out as he extended away from the Grade One field.
Kept up to his work by Tom O'Brien up the hill, Finian's Oscar stretched five lengths clear of Capitaine, with Chalonnial third and Global Stage a creditable fourth on his hurdling debut.
O'Brien told ITV Racing: "He's very special. He was a little bit inexperienced but kept it together and ran well.
"He was a bit lonely at the last, but he got it done well."
O'Brien went on: "I've not ridden many horses like him. "It was like riding a Grade One horse in a handicap, he does everything so easy.
"I was hoping Sam (Twiston-Davies on Capitaine) might come with me for longer, but he got the job done.
"The pressure didn't affect me, there were six runners and it was a straightforward race.
"I've only won one Grade One (Souffleur, Challow Hurdle, 2007), it took me a long time to get on another, so the feeling now is relief."
Tizzard said: "He's a beautiful young horse, but we didn't know he was going to do that.
"He's only won a point to point and a novices' hurdle at Hereford, but the way he did it at Hereford, why waste him in a little race when you can have a go at this?
"He justified it (the decision to run) and handled the ground well.
"He looked in control most of the way and he soon went five lengths clear.
"He stuttered into the last and I thought 'is he going to stop', but as soon as Tom got busy, he went on again.
"I would have been disappointed if he didn't win at Hereford but coming here today was completely different as it was a proper race back over two miles.
"He probably will run again and then go for one of the races at Cheltenham.
"He could go any trip, I think the easiest option is to go two and a half, but he's got the speed for two and he stays."
32Red Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1 Novices' Hurdle)
£45,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 216y, Class 1
Going: Soft, Heavy in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Finian's Oscar (IRE) 11/10f||T J O'Brien
|C L Tizzard||5|
|2nd||5||Capitaine (FR) 2/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|
|3rd||3¾||Chalonnial (FR) 8/1||N D Fehily
|4th||1¼||Global Stage 25/1||P J Brennan
|5th||3½||Charlemar (FR) 8/1||Aidan Coleman
|PU||Celestial Path (IRE) 33/1||T Scudamore