Horses To Follow » Oiseau De Nuit

Oiseau De Nuit

While the impressive winner of last Friday’s re-arranged Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, French Opera, may now be Champion Chase-bound, the other eye-catching performance came from Oiseau De Nuit in third. Although he does not have such lofty ambitions as the winner, his performance here was every bit as taking as the winner’s in his own right. He jumped well early on in sixth of the seven runners until he made a bad mistake at the sixth, early in the back straight when taking off far too early and ploughing through the fence. He lost several lengths in the process and got detached as the pace started to quicken soon after. Joe Tizzard gave him time to recover and he stayed on well over the last three fences to finish third, not too far behind French Opera and Tchico Polos having been a long, long way back at the top of the straight.

This was a sign of a return to form from Colin Tizzard’s gelding as he did make up a good deal of ground up the straight and had actually jumped very well up until he made the mistake. He will be interesting now back in a handicap despite having been put up 2lb for this run, but that is fair as he finished 13 and seven lengths respectively behind two horses rated in the mid-to-high 150s (French Opera has subsequently been put up to a mark of 164). He is in both the Grand Annual and the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham. He could improve for the step up to two and a half miles of the latter race given how well he ran on here.

18th February 2011