'Oscars' shows credentials for Neptune bid
BOTH Navan and Thurles were called off yesterday due to the weather but action did take place at the Meath venue on Saturday, when Jessica Harrington's Oscars Well recorded an impressive success in the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle.
Harrington's five-year-old travelled strongly throughout the two-and-a-half-mile affair in the hands of Robbie Power, and the 9/4 shot jumped with real dash.
As favourite and long-time leader Fully Funded began to weaken, Oscars Well was cantering all over his rivals with three to jump and was not at all pressed to account for Sweet Shock by eight lengths.
Paddy Power reacted with first-show quotes of 16/1 for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March and 33/1 for the shorter Neptune Novices' Hurdle, which is set to be his target.
"He'll go for the Grade Two novice hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of January next and hopefully he'll be capable of carrying his Grade One penalty," said Harrington. "The Neptune at Cheltenham is his long-term target."
Edward O'Grady's Rigour Back Bob stayed on best of all to take the Philips Electronics Tara Hurdle in the hands of Andrew McNamara.
Aitmatov had disputed matters in the Grade Two contest for a long way with Son Amix but the former dropped away tamely at the business end.
Alpine Glade in contrast loomed up going seemingly best of all approaching two out, but she was not brilliant at the last and it was Rigour Back Bob which proved strongest, despite being only third jumping the final obstacle. Stonemaster rallied to edge Alpine Glade for second close to home.