Tizzard family reap rewards of hard work with success at Newton Abbot
With the winter jump-racing season on the cusp of springing into action, trainer Colin Tizzard illustrated the well-being of his team ahead of the autumn schedule at Newton Abbot with a Monday afternoon double.
Oscar Magic had started as the 10-1 on favourite for the National Hunt novices' hurdle and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old could do more than come home in front, but his winning margin was far less spectacular than his prohibitive odds seemed to suggest.
The horse to note in the race was Quite By Chance, who finished just three lengths behind Oscar Magic. Joe Tizzard, who was on board Quite By Chance, was also on Multitude of Sins in the novices' handicap hurdle, and guided the gelding to an easy win despite belting the final two flights. He looks another fine prospect, given the ease of his win, and is likely to follow up soon.
Then Joe Tizzard set Ivor's King alight in the two mile novices' chase, jumping off in front and staying there after a text-book round of jumping.
The son of King's Theatre, a favoured sire of the Tizzard family, had always travelled comfortably and, when Tizzard shook up him after the penultimate fence, he responded readily and scored by five lengths.
Bold Cuffs was the Tizzards' most-fancied runner in the 2m3f handicap hurdle, but his chance was gone turning into the home straight when he stopped running for pressure and it was Nick Scholfield who set sail for home on Sporting Boy, giving trainer Johnny Farrelly his first winner.
Sporting Boy was last seen in pole position up at Wetherby in 2012 and had since put up some run-of-the-mill performances but a change of scenery appeared to work the oracle for the Wayne and Sarah Clifford-owned gelding, who switched him from David Pipe's yard to Farrelly's outfit.
Jimmy Frost and his son Hadden teamed up to win the 2m1f handicap hurdle, with North London digging deep to hold off the challenge of Chankillo.
Winners proved hard to find, with all but one of the favourites getting turned over, including Bennys Quest, who went down by a length and a quarter to the Kevin Bishop-trained and James Best-ridden Cruise In Style in the extended two-mile handicap chase.
The leaders could barely muster a canter in the concluding long-distance conditional jockeys' handicap chase, and Golden Squirrel gave everything under a determined ride from Tom Cannon. But it was all in vain, with the Carroll Gray-trained Volio Vincente keeping up a relentless gallop while Golden Squirrel faded up the run-in, handing the spoils to the Jonathan Park-ridden six-year-old.