Oscar looks ready to deliver on promise
Paul Flynn's Oscar Barton is the sole Irish-trained runner in England at Wetherby tomorrow, and the lightly-raced six-year-old should not be underestimated.
Longford-based Flynn, whose raids over the previous two seasons yielded winning percentages of 33pc and 20pc, has not travelled nearly as much this term.
Whereas last year he trained seven winners from 35 runners, just three horses have represented him in Britain over the past year.
With that in mind, Flynn may be due a win, and he looks to have found Oscar Barton a good opportunity in the two-mile, six-furlong maiden hurdle. There is a field of 12 in all for this, but few of the home side have much to recommend them.
Oscar Barton, on the other hand, has hinted that a race of this nature would be within his range in his three career outings to date. Most significantly, his best effort came on his debut at Navan, when third in a bumper to the smart Eight Is My Number.
The soft ground that he encountered that day has proved the best he would encounter until now, so it will be a surprise if tomorrow's quick conditions don't suit. On his two subsequent starts on heavy ground, Oscar Barton acquitted himself adequately.
He was fifth in another decent bumper behind Knockgraffon King at Naas, before labouring home in seventh behind Sweeney Tunes in desperate ground at Navan in February. Suffice to say, he should find the going a lot less taxing tomorrow.
In the beginners' chase later in the day, Riptide is taken to upset the likely long odds-on shot Othermix. The latter has been unconvincing in recent months, despite having previously looked a potentially smart addition to the chasing ranks.
Riptide, representing the Jason Maguire-Don McCain axis, is making his fencing debut, but he goes well on this type of ground, and he was good enough to win off 128 over flights. If he can recapture that level of form, he should go close.