Tag Archive for: Pats Fancy

Barry O’Neill booked for Pats Fancy in National Hunt Chase

Top Irish amateur Barry O’Neill will team up with Rebecca Curtis at the Cheltenham Festival as he is due to ride Pats Fancy in the National Hunt Chase.

The seven-year-old was behind only the exciting Bravemansgame in a novice handicap at Newbury on Saturday, following two victories in similar races this season, including an 11-length triumph over subsequent Cheltenham winner Imperial Alcazar in December.

“We were delighted with him,” said Curtis, whose charge is a general 14-1 chance for the big race next month.

“I don’t think you could have asked for a better run really – it was exactly what we wanted before Cheltenham.

“Obviously conditions weren’t ideal as Newbury is more of a speedy-type track on good ground, but I thought he travelled and jumped really well and saw his race out well. That’s one asset that he has – he’s a brilliant jumper, he’s really good over a fence.

“He’s come out of the race fresh and well, which is perfect, and I think he’ll be perfect for the National Hunt Chase. James (Bowen) thinks the further he goes the better he’ll be, which bodes well.”

Curtis has O’Neill in mind to take the ride when the Festival comes around, a rider who has become a leading figure on the amateur circuit in Ireland having ridden over 600 point-to-point winners.

“I think Barry O’Neill is going to ride him at Cheltenham. I think it’s important in those amateur races you get a top jockey – it can be everything,” Curtis said.

“It’s brilliant to have Barry on board – I’m delighted he can ride him.”

The late JT McNamara celebrates Cheltenham glory with Teaforthree
The late JT McNamara celebrates Cheltenham glory with Teaforthree (David Jones/PA)

Curtis knows what it takes to win the National Hunt Chase having enjoyed a 2012 success in the race with the popular staying chaser Teaforthree, who defeated Harry The Viking to prevail by two lengths a decade ago in the hands of the late JT McNamara.

The two bays share a sire as they are both the progeny of Oscar, and Curtis notes that Pats Fancy has a lot in common with the horse that supplied her first Cheltenham Festival victory.

“It was a few years ago, but he’s actually a similar type to Teaforthree,” she said.

“They are by the same sire and he really does remind me of him.”

Lisnagar Oscar on course for Cheltenham after encouraging Cleeve effort

Lisnagar Oscar will head straight to the Cheltenham Festival for the Stayers’ Hurdle after finishing third in the Cleeve Hurdle at the weekend.

The nine-year-old was a shock 50-1 victor in the staying division at the Festival in 2020 but has failed to win a race since, enjoying no luck in his first three starts this term, including when pulled up in the Long Walk at Ascot.

A return to Prestbury Park seemed to reignite his old zest, however, as the gelding travelled and jumped well under Adam Wedge and eventually came home third behind Paisley Park and Champ.

The big meeting in March is now on the horizon once again for the bay, who will head directly to the Stayers’ Hurdle after pleasing Curtis with a run that mirrored his third-placed performance in the Cleeve in 2020.

“He’s come out of the race very well, we were really pleased with his run,” she said.

“It was a massive step forwards, he always seems to come to hand at this time of year and he loves Cheltenham.

Lisnagar Oscar winning the 2020 Stayers' Hurdle
Lisnagar Oscar winning the 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle (Tim Goode/PA)

“He ran a similar sort of race to his run in the Cleeve in 2020 and he put in a good effort in that, so hopefully that will have put him spot on for the Stayers’ and we’ll have another shot at that.

“It wouldn’t have been ideal that he had to do all the donkey work, but he’ll have a lead in March. Adam did also say that the ground was a little bit sticky for him and he’d have liked a bit of rain, but we were really pleased with him.

“You had Paisley Park, who has obviously won the Stayers’ and then Champ, who was the favourite going into it, probably two of the best stayers in Britain were in it, so it was a good race.”

Curtis has another Festival hope in the shape of Pats Fancy, who has an entry for the National Hunt Chase after winning two of his three starts over fences.

His most recent victory was an 11-length success over Imperial Alcazar in a novice event at Chepstow, form that now looks particularly smart as the latter horse was a 10-length winner of a novice handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Pats Fancy at Chepstow
Pats Fancy at Chepstow (David Davies/PA)

Pats Fancy was due to have his final pre-Cheltenham outing at Exeter on Wednesday afternoon but may now reroute to Newbury on Friday week after losing a shoe on the morning of the Exeter race.

“He’s pulled a shoe off, we’ve had the farrier here and he’s had it back on but he’s a little bit sore.

“I’ll hopefully run him next week somewhere, he’ll possibly go to Newbury.”

National Hunt date the ultimate aim for Pats Fancy

Rebecca Curtis’ promising novice chaser Pats Fancy is pencilled in for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham after an impressive start to his career over fences.

The seven-year-old was a taking winner at Chepstow on December 27, claiming a novice handicap chase by 11 lengths in what was his third start over fences.

Fourth on his chasing debut at the same track in early November, he then went on to win next time out, again at Chepstow, leaving him with a record of two from three over the bigger obstacles.

An Exeter novices’ chase is the next target for the bay, with the three-mile-six-furlong National Hunt Chase in March the ultimate target this season.

“He’s in really good form since his last two runs,” Curtis said.

“We plan to run him now on February 2 at Exeter, there’s a three-mile novice chase there.

“We’re going to use that as a prep run and then he’ll just go straight to Cheltenham for the National Hunt Chase.”

Teaforthree (nearest the camera) won the National Hunt Chase for Curtis
Teaforthree (nearest the camera) won the National Hunt Chase for Curtis (David Davies/PA)

Pats Fancy’s form so far has earned him favourable comparisons to Teaforthree, Curtis’ popular staying chaser who won the National Hunt Chase in 2012 and was also sired by Oscar.

“I’ve always thought he’d stay. He reminds me very much of Teaforthree actually, who we won it with back in 2012,” she said.

“They’re very similar and by the same sire. He jumps really well, Pats Fancy, and I think he’ll stay so he should be ideal for the race.

“He’s a big horse, he was a bit weak but the older he’s got, the stronger he’s got, so hopefully he will keep improving.”