Horses To Follow » Oscar Time

Oscar Time

Oscar Time ran a cracker to finish second in the Irish Grand National off 11st. Robbie Power held the Martin Lynch trained gelding in the rear of mid division as they went a sensible pace given the testing conditions. He jumped well throughout and began to make smooth headway coming down the hill from Ballyhack the second time round. He moved into contention just as they turned for home and was travelling the best in a line of horses just behind Will Jamie Run. Bluesea Cracker hit the front under Andrew McNamara coming to the second last, and it was here that Power began to get at Oscar Time. He was not helped by the leader wandering around in front of him going to the last and eventually got outpaced on the short run in, but he held on gamely for second, four lengths behind Bluesea Cracker and just ahead of the thorough stayer Whatuthink.

This was a great performance by Oscar Time. Only two horses before him in the previous 10 years managed to finished placed in the Irish National carrying 11st or more, and no horse had managed it in the last five years. There were questions about his stamina coming into this but he proved that he stayed here as he travelled extremely well going into the straight. He had been put up 17lb for winning the Paddy Power Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting, he raced off a mark of 141 here, and the handicapper has given him another 5lb for this, but he has clearly improved rapidly this year in his second season as a chaser.

Martin Lynch’s gelding has raced on soft ground all through his career and he has won over a range of distances, but stamina is obviously his strong suit. He travels extremely well through his races and needs to be waited with, but he did pull right away from his field in the Paddy Power. He is nine now, but he has raced just nine times over fences, and he may not have finished improving yet as a staying chaser. The obvious thing to do now is to mind his handicap mark and train him for the Aintree Grand National next season. He will be 10 then, the ideal age for the race, and a mark of 146 would be just about perfect. Most firms who are betting on the race haven’t even priced him up, but one of them go 50/1, and that would look big even at this stage of you knew that he was going to be trained for the race.

5th April 2010