OSCAR ELITE 9/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair – 1 POINT E/W (5 places, 1/5 odds)
I have had my eye on OSCAR ELITE for this race all summer really. His handicap mark of 139 is just so attractive and I can’t help but think he is a good 5lb – 10lb ahead of the handicapper. OSCAR ELITE is actually still a novice as despite running some great races last season, he didn’t win. I am not 100% sure of the stats but he would most likely be the first novice to win this race, but having said that I am not sure how many novices have run in the race. Although he is a novice, OSCAR ELITE has 6 chase starts under his belt and comes into the race a 2nd season chaser. He more than likely would have won on debut over fences, at Cheltenham last season, when a faller 3 out, a race which was won by another of today’s runners Threeunderthrufive. He then went on to the Cheltenham Festival and ran a cracker to come home 3rd in the Ultima Chase, looking the winner coming to the 2nd last but just got outstayed up the hill.
I think a flat track like Newbury will suit and with a summer on his back he is sure to be a much better chaser this season.
He has blown the cobwebs off when running in the Grade 2 Bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby, once again travelling really well but obviously lacking in fitness come the end of the race.
That race would have put him spot on for this race and the jockey booking of Harry Cobden is obviously strong given the form he is in.
The ground is perfect for him and everything points to a big race. The tiny weight of 10st 7lb is going to be a big advantage.
I am pretty sure that after the 2021 Cheltenham Festival when OSCAR ELITE came home 2nd in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, if we told anyone this horse would be rated 139 over fences in 18 months and goes for the Croal Gold Cup, we would have bet him there and then. That really is how good his handicap mark could be.
I am quietly confident and although you need a bit of luck in races like this, if that is on our side, he will no doubt be involved in the finish.
It is worth pointing out he also got his wind done over the summer which should sort out any problems come the end of the race, if he has to get into a battle. E/W.