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Oscar Dan Dan

Oscar Dan Dan ran really well to finish second to Powerstation in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown on Monday. Kept wide in the early stages, the Tom Mullins-trained gelding jumped well and did everything easily for Davy Russell, and he was no more than five lengths behind the leaders leaving the back straight, but he seemed to get a little tapped for toe when the pace increased on the approach to the second last. The fall of Healys Bar forced him a little wider than ideal there as Noble Alan and Powerstation closed up on War Of Attrition around the home turn. From there, Oscar Dan Dan was always playing catch up. He did stay on well over the final flight and up the run-in, and he did manage to catch Noble Prince for the runner-up spot, but Powerstation stayed on well on the far rail, and it never looked like he was going to be caught.

Oscar Dan Dan has always been an under-rated horse for some reason, and he will probably continue now as such. He was almost twice the price of Ninetieth Minute here, despite the fact that he beat him well the last time they met in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, albeit on 4lb better terms, and that he would almost certainly have beaten him in the Lismullen Hurdle had he not fallen at the second last. Although he has had plenty of experience over hurdles, he seems to be a vastly improved performer this season, and he stayed the three-mile trip well on Monday on only his second try over the distance. He would be a lively outsider in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham at the end of January, and he could be even more under-rated in the UK than he is here. Top staying hurdlers are thin on the ground, and that contest may turn out to be a weak enough Grade 2 contest with Big Buck’s probably going straight to the World Hurdle, Diamond Harry probably going over fences and Karabak no more than a possible for the race at this stage.

27th December 2009

© The Irish Field, 2nd January 2010