Oscar Bay shines in Novices' Chase

Oscar Bay looked a horse with Aintree potential as he sparked a big-priced Stratford double for jockey Seamus Durack.

Oscar Bay looked a horse with Aintree potential as he sparked a big-priced Stratford double for jockey Seamus Durack.

Sent off at odds of 13-2 for the Shottery Novices' Chase, Jimmy Frost's seven-year-old had only Crescent Island to worry about making to turn for home.

Oscar Bay, reacting positively to second-time blinkers, kept pulling out more and readily forged 10 lengths clear, with odds-on favourite Leading Contender the same margin back in third.

Frost said: "They've been a bit quiet but hopefully this will signal a general improvement.

"They certainly look well and Oscar Bay could go for a three-mile novice chase at Aintree.

"It's left-handed and the flat track should suit him.

Durack, who never let up on the winner, added: "He travelled away for me and was in great form out there.

"He's so genuine."

The jockey was also on the mark on Mollys Garden in the Bob Walker The Bookies' Friend Novices' Handicap Hurdle, in which the last three flights were omitted on the final circuit.

Trainer Charlie Longsdon explained that a change of jockey, with Durack replacing Tom Siddall, was requested by the owners.

He said: "Tom did all the work at home but the owners were keen to get a second opinion and were proved right.

"This is a progressive horse who'll go over fences next season."

Andy Turnell had luck on his side when Ready To Crown justified 6-4 favouritism in the second division of the Stratford Racecourse New Season Maiden Hurdle.

Nick Scholfield's mount was looking at a second-place finish at best when Risk, who was 10 lengths clear, fell at the penultimate flight.

This left Scholfield and Ready To Crown with the lead. Although hotly pressed by the Tony McCoy-ridden Sam Whiskey, the combination held on by a head.

Turnell said: "I lost a nice prospect on the Flat on Sunday and this shows you how the game is full of its ups and downs.

"There's no doubt we were lucky, but when it came to the crunch, the blinkers just helped my mare."

Izita Star provided evidence Annabel King's horses are thriving with the installation of an all-weather gallop at home when she powered clear in the first division of the maiden.

The 4-1 chance careered 13 lengths clear of Riddleofthesands, as odds-on chance Raincoat weakened.

King's husband, Aidan Murphy, said: "This mare has shown promise and ran at Aintree and in the mares' final last season.

"But she needed a Hobday operation to correct a wind problem.

"We have a new gallop and the horses seem to be running well."

The Snitterfield Handicap Chase provided one of the best finishes of the day, with Milton Des Bieffes holding Michigan D'Isop by a neck.

Karen Waldron's winner is owned by Nick Shutts, who observed: "This fellow has finally come back to form.

"I'd run out of ideas for him after backing him in a seller, but I told Andrew Glassonbury to be handy."

Tim Vaughan's Paradise Expected foiled a gamble on Bundle Up when beating that rival by six lengths in the Tiddington Conditional Jockeys' Mares' Handicap Hurdle.

Backers of 6-5 favourite Frascati Park had some anxious moments in the concluding bumper.

The Carl Llewellyn-trained gelding hung violently right off the bend, with Barry Connell, who also owns the horse, also losing his whip and part of the reins.

Connell worked wonders, however, to keep his mount going and score by the narrowest of margins from Divy.

Betting on the outcome of the photo was close, but the judge called Frascati Park the neck winner.

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