Tommy’s Oscar stamped his class on the MND Association Race For Research Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster with a smooth performance.
A Grade Two winner over hurdles, he was just below the very best last season but promised to take high rank over fences.
A win at Carlisle and a second in a hot event at Cheltenham to Banbridge offered plenty of encouragement on that front, but reverting to hurdles for the Fighting Fifth did not quite work out.
Due to a lack of opportunities he was in a limited handicap at Newcastle most recently, conceding lumps of weight to Since Day One, who took him on at levels on this occasion and the tables were well and truly turned.
Harry Fry’s favourite Boothill loomed to the front early in the straight but Danny McMenamin was full on confidence on Tommy’s Oscar (7-4) and came between horses pulling double.
Two good leaps at the last two fences sealed the deal by five and a half lengths for Ann and Ian Hamilton’s star.
“He wants better ground and a flat track. He wasn’t giving away loads of weight today, either,” said Ian Hamilton.
“He tends to jump right, but didn’t do that until the last today when he was in the clear.
“I don’t know what we do now, we may have to wait until Aintree. He’s not a Cheltenham horse. There’s nothing I can see that we can run him in, it’s been the case all season which was why he ran at Newcastle giving all that weight.
“Ann and I are getting on, we don’t want to be travelling with him to the other end of the country.
“We haven’t had a great season, our horses are badly handicapped, but this lad is good.”