Friday, 17 November 2017

November Meeting: Fantastic Finian's flies to JLT favouritism

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Finian's Oscar proved both an sentimental and outstanding winner on the opening day of the November meeting, as the unbeaten chaser saw off tough opposition to win stylishy at Cheltenham.

The victory was the first since his owner Alan Potts died on Tuesday. The Potts' family played an integral role in National Hunt racing and enjoyed victory in this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup with Sizing John.

The five-year-old jumped terrifically throughout and was joined by Paul Nicholls' Movewiththetimes at the final fence. The two-time Grade One winner rallied to power home strongly and cruise clear by two-and-a-half lengths.

"It was very sad what happened," jockey Bryan Cooper told ITV.

"I was in Colin's on Tuesday schooling this lad and all the others and I was only half an hour down the road on the way to the airport when Joe (Tizzard) called me to say what happened.

"He'll be a big loss to our game, he was a big spender and it's a pity he's not here to see him today, I'm sure he's looking down.

"He's very smart this one, it was a messy race again and he was a little bit brave.

"He picked up well though and he's plenty of boot, he's two out of two (over fences) and can only get better."

His impressive victory lowered him from 9-1 into 6-1 for the JLT Novices Chase at the Festival in March.

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Kingswell Theatre ran out a 14-1 shock winner of the Cross Country Handicap

Elsewhere on the card, the hotly fancied On The Blind Side delivered Nicky Henderson a Grade Two prize in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

The five-year-old quickened well to win by just under three lengths, to see off Dan Skelton's Momella in second.

Kingswell Theatre proved a shock winner of the Cross Country Handicap Chase for father-son duo Michael and Tom Scudamore.

The eight-year-old made all to win gamely ahead of French pair Vicomte Du Seuil and Urgent De Gregaine.

What A Moment, Magic Dancer and Doitforthevillage were also winners on the card.

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