Ozzie The Oscar winner of Warwick feature race
Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs made it four wins in two days when Ozzie The Oscar landed the feature race at Warwick's Business Networking Raceday on Friday, writes David Hucker.
Shantou Rock, who won well on his first run over fences at Newton Abbot, was sent off the odds-on favourite to lift the £15,000 Integral Novices’ Chase for leading trainer Dan Skelton. Racing keenly from the off, he attacked his fences with gusto, opening up a useful lead.
Four-time hurdles winner Ozzie The Oscar was the only horse to get near him down the back straight but still had ground to make up with just two fences to jump. The leader began to falter, however, giving Richard Johnson and Ozzie The Oscar their chance and they jumped to the front at the final fence to score by two lengths.
We Have A Dream, who had three runs in France before joining champion trainer Nicky Henderson, was an impressive winner of the opening Juvenile Hurdle. He had been entered at Market Rasen the day before, but Henderson chose to run at Warwick and We Have A Dream justified favouritism when making every yard of the running to beat the Skelton-trained Etamine Du Cochet by ten lengths.
A Ludlow double the previous day confirmed the well-being of trainer Kim Bailey’s horses and he was on the mark again with Station Master in the day’s longest race, the Hy-Kleen Of Warwick Novices’ Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles. A promising third on his hurdles debut at Exeter, he proved too strong here for favourite Just A Thought, who was finishing runner-up for the second time.
Oxwich Bay was an early market mover in the Trial Racing UK For Free Now Handicap Hurdle and he looked like justifying the support when jumping the last flight just in front. He could not hold off the challenge of 12-1 shot One For Billy, however, who was brought up the stands rail by Harry Skelton to score by half a length.
There was another well-backed horse in the following Racing UK Free For A Month Handicap Chase in the shape of Zerachiel, who shortened from 7-1 to 5-2, just behind favourite Lunar Flow, who was looking to follow up his Uttoxeter win.
However, they had to settle for places behind 11-1 shot Water Wagtail, who was going far better than the rest turning for home, being eased down by Nick Scholfield near the post.
Money talked in the racinguk.com/freetrial Handicap Chase when favourite Jarlath held off the challenge of Shanty Town, who was the gamble of the day, before Diamond Gait, who had been at the sharp end from the off, took the concluding bumper to give Bailey a double for the second day running.
Racing returns to the track a week on Wednesday with Winter Warmer Raceday, when the gates open at 10.35am, two hours before the first race.