Saturday, 14 October 2017

Confidence in Finian's Oscar and Alcala high, ahead of Chepstow clash

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Colin Tizzard’s reports dual Grade One winner Finian’s Oscar in ‘great form’ ahead of his novice chase debut in Chepstow’s Totequadpot Novices' Chase (3:05).

The five-year-old is one of the countries’ leading novice chasing prospects. The two-time Grade One winner landed the Tolworth and Mersey Novice last season, before losing narrowly at Punchestown on his last start.

Bacardys defeated him in a photo finish in the Champion Novice, but has always been regarded as a horse to improve significantly as a chaser.

“This looks like a good starting race for him,” said Tizzard.

“We like taking some of our better horses to Chepstow, and we’ve had some winners there over the last few years.

“This is an ideal place to start him, and he looks and has schooled very well. The ground will be perfect for him as well.

“We have to go there pretty confident, and hopefully he can go on to better things this season.”

Finian’s Oscar was a notable absentee from the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, but bookmakers currently make him a leading fancy for novice chases in the March showcase next year.

He currently heads the JLT Novice market at 10-1, whilst the RSA could also be an option for him if Tizzard opts to up him in trip.

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Alcala is bidding to give trainer Paul Nicholls a sixth straight victory

Paul Nicholls believes Alcala can continue his impressive run of form against top class opposition.

The seven-year-old has won all of his last five outings, including an impressive performance when winning Market Rasen’s Summer Plate.

He’s looked like a brilliant novice in the making, and has a huge opportunity to prove his credentials against a proven top class prospect.

“He has been a revelation this summer, coming into his own by completing a five-timer over fences,” Nicholls told his Betfair blog.

“Alcala is a forward going, bold jumper with a huge engine and his confidence is sky high so hopefully he should win plenty more races.

“He still seems to be improving and is well suited by the conditions of this Listed event as he is top rated on official figures and has to give only 3lbs to Finian's Oscar who is making his debut over fences.

“While I have plenty of respect for Finian's Oscar I am hoping that Alcala's experience can prove crucial.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Tintern Theatre and Dan Skelton’s Aintree My Dream also take their place in the 2m3f contest.

Read connections thoughts ahead of the Silver Trophy here, and a 66-1 outsider hoping to boost his Gold Cup claims here.

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