Oscar puts up another winning performance at Uttoxeter

Wilde About Oscar claimed a fourth victory over hurdles when taking the Burton Union Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter for Dan and Harry Skelton.

The six-year-old won on his hurdles debut at the track in October and was victorious again at Aintree before stepping up to Graded calibre when contesting Newbury’s Challow Novices’ Hurdle in late December.

A mistake at the seventh hurdle put paid to that plan as the gelding was pulled up, but a subsequent run at Exeter did produce Listed honours and the son of Oscar looked in fine fettle once again when winning by three-quarters of a length as the 9-5 favourite at the Midlands track.

“He’s a really honest little horse,” Harry Skelton said.

“His jumping has just got better and better with each run and he’s really progressed.

“He can definitely progress even further next season.”

Ask Me Early was a winner for Harry Fry
Ask Me Early was a winner for Harry Fry (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ask Me Early cruised to a comfortable victory in the three-mile 1834 Novices’ Handicap Chase after trainer Harry Fry vetoed a previously mooted run in the Midlands National itself.

The grey won on his debut over fences at Chepstow and followed up with a second victory at the same track in January, but a subsequent run at Sandown resulted in disappointment as the gelding was pulled up when never really travelling.

That performance was clearly forgotten at Uttoxeter as the seven-year-old ran with his previous zest and jumped fluently under Sean Bowen to record a two-and-a-quarter-length triumph.

“He’s been so progressive in his first two starts over fences, from the word go at Sandown he was never travelling or jumping with the same enthusiasm,” Fry explained.

“We got him home and he was very sore through his back and we diagnosed kissing spines, which we’ve treated.

“He roared right back to form today, he’s a real out-and-out galloper and jumps for fun.

“Truth be told, I was training him for the Midlands National today, but when we flopped at Sandown I thought I couldn’t aim that high.

“This is a lovely race for him and it’s great to see him bounce back to form, he’ll be a lovely second-season chaser to look forward to next season.”

Saint Dalina on her way to victory
Saint Dalina on her way to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Saint Dalina followed up a course-and-distance victory in December with another Uttoxeter success when taking the Marstons Brewery Handicap Hurdle for Charlie Longsdon and Tom Buckley.

Travelling fluently throughout, the mare was only challenged by Tim Vaughan’s Tight Call after clearing the final obstacle, but was able to hold on as the post approached to prevail by a neck.

“I’ve ridden her a few times and I really like her attitude,” Buckley said.

“She’s an out-and-out galloper and I can’t wait until she goes over fences – she’ll be even better then.

“To be fair to her, coming here today, the ground’s a bit quick for her, but she’s kept her head down, the cheekpieces have worked and she’s done it nicely.”

Tom Buckley after his win aboard Saint Dalina
Tom Buckley after his win aboard Saint Dalina (Mike Egerton/PA)

“She’s tough, she’s been a massive improver this season,” Longsdon said.

“I sort of aimed at this race thinking it was a lady riders’ race but obviously it got changed, but she’s gone and done it nicely.

“It was hard work, but she’s done a good job.”

Rosmuc Relay was victorious at Uttoxeter
Rosmuc Relay was victorious at Uttoxeter (Mike Egerton/PA)

Rosmuc Relay triumphed on his first run for Tom Lacey when a five-length winner of the 61 Deep Handicap Chase.

The nine-year-old was previously trained by Kim Bailey before switching stables earlier in the month, a move that has seemingly succeeded in revitalising the gelding.

A 16-1 chance, Rosmuc Relay took up the lead with a fence remaining and was able to shake off Richard Hobson’s Discko Des Plages to prevail.

“It’s freshened him up a bit,” said jockey Stan Sheppard.

“With how the race panned out, I wanted to make the running, but I was always happy just sitting where I was travelling.”

The Edgar Wallace was ridden by David Bass
The Edgar Wallace was ridden by David Bass (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Edgar Wallace (15-8) went one better than his recent runner-up spot when taking the DE14 Novices’ Hurdle by two lengths.

Trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by David Bass, the six-year-old took an early lead and made all of the running, holding on to prevail by two lengths despite the field closing in on him after the final turn.

Fergal O’Brien’s Onagatheringstorm finished second, with £620,000 purchase Interconnected a further length and a quarter behind in third.

“I knew from experience that round here on the hurdles course it was tight enough,” Bass said of his ride.

“I thought if I could wind him up and inject a bit of pace until he was there then he might get away from them.

“He is a good horse, he is, some of his bumper form is very good. There’s a lot to look forward to.”

Legendary Rhythm (right) at Uttoxeter
Legendary Rhythm (right) at Uttoxeter (Mike Egerton/PA)

Legendary Rhythm (17-2) lost her maiden tag when taking the Horninglow Mares’ Handicap Hurdle by a length and a half for trainer Tom Symonds.

Anthony Honeyball’s Kilbeg King then took the concluding two-mile Marstons Pedigree Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race under Aidan Coleman by an impressive seven and a half lengths.

“It was a nice performance,” Coleman said.

“Kilbeg King travelled nicely the whole way and picked up well when I asked him to.

“I sat on him a couple of weeks ago so I knew he was quite nice and the race worked out well. “

Oscar back on winning form with Exeter verdict

Wilde About Oscar returned to form with a bang to take the Listed spoils in the Bet At Novices’ Hurdle at Exeter.

The Dan Skelton-trained gelding had looked a smart recruit when winning both his novice hurdles in the autumn, only to come unstuck in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury when stepped up to Grade One company.

The six-year-old got back on track with a dominant display under an enterprising ride by Harry Skelton.

Leading before the second flight, Wilde About Oscar (16-5) was far too strong for The Glancing Queen and crossed the line seven and a half lengths clear of the evens favourite.

The winning trainer said: “I’m really happy with him. At Newbury he hit four out and just stopped – whether he had a dead leg or something, I’ll just never know.

“Other than at Newbury, he’s having a really smart career and today he showed he could handle tough conditions.

“He jumped very well, just a little out to his left sometimes. It was his first time going right-handed, so I’m not too bothered about that.

“It was confirmation we are back on track and that we’ve got a really nice horse.

“Going up in trip to two and a half (miles) is no issue. I’m very happy with him. I always thought he was a good horse. I’ve never lost faith, (he had) just one funny run.

“The form of today’s race was very good. The mare (The Glancing Queen) is good and we’ve had to give her 7lb.”

Wilde About Oscar was cut to 25-1 from 40-1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham with Paddy Power, but whether he takes up that engagement has yet to be decided.

“I’ve spoken to Mike (Newbould) his owner. We’re yet to decide what we’re going to do with him,” said Skelton.

“We’re not going to put him under pressure. We’ll give him a week and see how he is.”

Brinkley earned a quote of 16-1 for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham with Paddy Power after running out a game winner of the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Series Qualifier.

The David Pipe-trained grey was never too far off the pace before taking closer order in the straight.

Leading before the final flight, Brinkley (100-30) kept on strongly to deny Tommy Rapper by three and a quarter lengths.

“He has qualified for the Pertemps Final now, but I need to sit and have a chat with the owners (to see) if they want to go there or look at something else,” said Pipe.

“If it was like this ground you would have to take a chance, but if it was good to soft ground you might miss it.”

That success gave Pipe and Scudamore a double after Martinhal (4-1) struck gold in the British Stallion Studs EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The six-year-old staged a game front-running performance as he backed up a course success five weeks ago to hold Solwara One by a head.

“It was a lovely performance and he is a horse we have always liked. He disappointed after his first two runs over hurdles as he never really finished his races, but the wind operation has helped him,” said the Nicholashayne trainer.

“To me he is a three-miler, but he never finished those first two races, so we dropped him back to two miles and one furlong here last time and stepped him back up a little bit further today.” 

Karl Philippe had found Martinhal half a length too good on his latest start, but made no mistake as he got off the mark over jumps in the second division of the novice hurdle.

Fergal O’Brien’s six-year-old also made all the running with Paddy Brennan able to dictate affairs. The 6-4 favourite ran the opposition into the ground, coming home 10 lengths clear of Sheldon, with a further 14 lengths to One Fer Mamma in third.

“He definitely deserved that. We decided to be more positive on him today and the step up in trip has helped him as well,” said O’Brien.

“The step up in trip looked ideal for him and he loves that ground.”

Karl Philippe will now head to Sandown for the EBF Paddy Power ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

“The thinking is to go for the EBF Final now at Sandown. It’s a race we won a few years ago with Barney Dwan, so hopefully he can follow in his hoofprints.” the Cheltenham trainer added.