Exeter stroll for Finian’s Oscar

Leading Cheltenham Festival fancy Finian's Oscar outclassed his rivals in the Free Bet At 188Bet Novices' Hurdle at Exeter.

Finian's Oscar was a facile winner at Exeter

The Listed race has been won by some smart performers in the past, notably the same connections Native River as well as Politologue and Melodic Rendezvous.

None of those winners were sent off as short as the five-year-old who was sent off at 1/16 having won the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle last time out.

He faced little in the way of meaningful opposition but did everything asked of him to extend his career record to three from three and keep his Festival dreams alive.

Taws kept him company initially but Tom O'Brien soon gave the gelding his head and he eased to the front with Taws clinging to his coat tails but kept up to his work to do so.

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In contrast, Finian's Oscar never came off the bridle in winning by four and a half lengths.

Sky Bet left the winner unchanged at 7/2 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle while he is 7/1 with the sponsors for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle; both non-runner no bet.

Tizzard said: "That hasn't told us anything and I'm still in the dark as to whether he will run in the Neptune or the Supreme. I really don't know which one.

"We will talk about it in the next two weeks. All we know is that was only his third hurdle race and it shows his well-being, nothing more. He's a very relaxed horse, as we saw today, but we haven't really gained anything.

"Everyone was in today's race at the five-day stage, but they backed off."

Tizzard also had news of Hennessy and Welsh National winner Native River, who enhanced his Gold Cup claims at Newbury on Saturday: "He's a good boy and what we saw at Newbury we hadn't seen before. He sprinted away from them and he has all the gears.

"To be fair to Richard Johnson (who missed the ride through illness), he rode in the car with Aidan Coleman before Newbury and told him the horse would do exactly what he did yesterday."

He added of the way things have gone for his string recently: "We had a few get beat as well as a few winners. We had a few sniffles, but everyone gets that at this time of the winter."

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