FINIAN’S OSCAR (5-2) survived another round of indifferent jumping to scamper home late in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree.
In the opening race of the Grand National Festival, Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old looked to have plenty to do pushed along by Robbie Power in last as the field made their way into the straight.
However, he showed his brilliant engine remains in tact as he defied a sloppy round of jumping to shoot past Dan Skelton’s mare Rene’s Girl (8-1) up the run-in.
Tizzard said: “He was always just in touch. He raced lazily.
“Initially, I’d think Punchestown is next. I don’t think we’re finished this year as he hasn’t raced much. If he comes out of this OK I’m sure he’ll have that option.
“He’s a strong stayer and he’s maybe a Hennessy (Newbury) horse (next season).
“He’s a lovely horse.”
He added: “Good horses don’t necessarily have to be brilliant every time.
“He was quite good at Cheltenham and Cheltenham form is always the best form of the season.
“He was better today. It was ringing in my ears what Robbie said at Cheltenham – that we should go three miles next time.
Matt Chapman’s TV tips for Aintree
2.20 Aintree – Apple’s Shakira: ‘Has a hood on now and can bounce back’ (add to your betslip)
2.50 Aintree – Might Bite: ‘Easily the best horse in this race’ (add to your betslip)
3.25 Aintree – Supasundae: ‘The one to beat and this trip should be ideal’ (add to your betslip)
4.05 Aintree – Unioniste: ‘Should give David Maxwell a great spin’ (add to your betslip)
4.40 Aintree – King’s Socks: ‘Ran well at Cheltenham and can back that run up here’ (add to your betslip)
“He jumped really well and travelled really well until they started racing. Then he hit one, or two, and it didn’t look very promising for a while, but he was just close enough the whole time.
“He’s on form right now and I would imagine we’ll look at Punchestown (Growise Champion Novice Chase).
“He (Power) is a master horseman, he’s a class rider.”
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The winning jockey remains adamant Finian’s Oscar will be a better horse over three miles.
Power said: “His jumping has been his problem.
“He just gets unsure of himself, but I knew going to the last he had got into a good rhythm.
“We got away with it over two and a half (miles).”