Horses To Follow » Rock On Oscar

Rock On Oscar

Rock On Oscar ran out a really impressive winner of the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle at Doncaster last Thursday.

Sent to the front from flagfall by Nick Scholfield, Paul Nicholls’ horse was keener than ideal through the early stages of the race. Indeed, he was so keen that it was legitimate to expect that his early exertions would take their toll in the home straight, and that he would finish weakly. On the contrary, while it looked like Newsworthy was going to mount a challenge at the top of the home straight, Rock On Oscar picked up again from the second last flight, and stayed on strongly to win by 10 lengths from Newsworthy, who was 13 lengths clear of the remainder.

This was a good performance from Rock On Oscar. He beat another progressive sort in Newworthy, and he clocked a good time, the fastest comparative time on the day and just 0.14secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par. They had tried to hold him up in the past, and he was tried over three miles on his previous run at Taunton, when he raced in a hood for the first time. But he seemed to appreciate the drop back down to two and a half mile here and, with the hood retained, the switch to front-running tactics. He enjoyed himself, bowling along in front and, while he raced keenly, he had plenty of energy left at the end of his race.

He had a rating of 124 going into this race. The handicapper will probably give him a few pounds, but he should remain on a low enough mark to be interesting in handicaps now. Or he could continue down the novice path, and step up in grade a little. He is only six and this was just his fourth race over hurdles, so he should come on for the experience. He is a chaser in-waiting, he will be interesting over fences next season, but he will also be interesting over hurdles again in the interim. He should be better again when he learns to settle better.

11th February 2016