Cheltenham’s three-day November meeting swings into action on Friday and it might pay to follow Colin Tizzard and Bryan Cooper late in the day.
The dropping temperatures will ensure it’s likely to be chilly in the Cotswolds but hopefully Finian’s Oscar and Vision De Flos can warm punters up.
It will be a poignant afternoon at Headquarters as the famous silks of owners Alan and Ann Potts are carried for the first time since the former passed away last weekend.
The Potts silks have become synonymous with jumps racing in this era and the owners enjoyed the ultimate day in March when Jessica Harrington’s Sizing John won the Gold Cup in fine style for them.
It will be a fitting moment should those same silks be in the winner’s enclosure at the November meeting and Finian’s Oscar should be capable of making it happen.
Beaten just once over hurdles (in a head-bobber behind Bacardys at Punchestown in their Grade One novice in April), Finian’s Oscar missed the Cheltenham Festival in March owing to a bruised foot.
He was a top-level winner at Aintree the following month before losing little caste in defeat in Ireland. He promises to be a very exciting novice chaser this term and got off to a rock-solid start when winning at Chepstow last month.
He’s 10/11 favourite for the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase (14:25) on Friday at Cheltenham and can take care of three rivals with Gold Cup-winning jockey Cooper for assistance.
Cooper can also get on the board in the finale on Friday, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (16:05) when he partners Vison Des Flos, again for Team Tizzard.
An Irish bumper winner in the spring he was picked up by the Potts’ for a cool £270,000 thereafter and made a decent start to his jumping career last month in the Persian War at Chepstow.
There he finished six-lengths behind the re-opposing Poetic Rhythm for trainer Fergal O’Brien.
Poetic Rhythm is 6/1 to uphold the form now but must concede 5lb to his old rival at Cheltenham. Two years younger, Vision Des Flos is likely to find a deal of improvement for his debut run over timber and that may be enough to help swing things in his favour this time.
Confidence appears to be high, with Cooper’s mount the early 5/2 favourite to win at Cheltenham.
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