Horses To Follow » Gallant Oscar

Gallant Oscar

Gallant Oscar ran out a really impressive winner of the Leinster National at Naas last Sunday week. Held up out the back in the early stages of the race by Danny Mullins, who was replacing the injured Paul Carberry, he made smooth progress around the home turn, travelled best of all down to the second last, joined the leader Los Amigos on the run to the last, jumped on at that obstacle and cleared away to win impressively.

Given the fluency with which Tony Martin’s horse travelled through the race, and the ease with which he came clear on the run-in, it is safe to assume that he won with a fair bit more in hand than the three-length winning margin. He was all out to win a handicap hurdle at Navan on his previous run off a mark of 93, but that was just his second run of the season, his second since he joined Tony Martin, and it was reasonable to expect some improvement. Also, he is almost certainly a better chaser than hurdler, he jumps fences well and his win in a beginners’ chase at Clonmel last March was better than anything he had ever done over hurdles.

It is also reasonable to expect that he will improve again for this, now that it appears that Martin has found the key to him. The handicapper has raised him 13lb to a mark of 132, but that is still a mark off which he can operate. This was just his fourth ever chase, so he still has plenty of scope for progression, and there could be a big staying handicap chase in him now, especially on soft ground. He could be an Irish National horse.

9th March 2014