Tizzard, Power and Potts yet again as Finian's Oscar defies greenness in style
Colin Tizzard could hardly credit it, and nor for that matter could jockey Robbie Power, when Finian's Oscar provided them with a remarkable third Aintree Grade 1 win in 24 hours with an impressive three-length defeat of Captain Forez in the Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle.
"I can't believe it. A couple of days ago we were on the cold list, but that's racing for you," said the trainer, who had a largely forgettable Cheltenham after a stunning first half to the season and has now recovered his form in no uncertain terms.
Finian's Oscar's absence following a minor setback was among a series of Festival frustrations for the stable, but it might have been a blessing. It certainly did him no harm judging from the manner in which he overcame obvious inexperience for a second Grade 1 win in just five months since agent Tom Malone paid £250,000 to buy him on behalf of Ann and Alan Potts at Cheltenham.
"He's a beautiful horse, a beautiful horse," repeated Tizzard. "He's the horse we were all hoping he would be.
"When they had to race in earnest off the bend he came through. He had to ask him, but goodness me didn't he find."
Tizzard has Finian's Oscar entered at Punchestown, and that is where he will go if Potts wishes it, but the immediate reaction was that he had done enough for one season.
"I'll see what Alan wants to do, but good ones like this don't come along very often and I think he's done his job for this season," he said. "If we put him away now we can dream. He's a gorgeous young horse and has everything in front of him. I'm sure he'll go chasing next season"
Power, who was handed the armband for the meeting's leading rider by Barry Geraghty on pulling up, has been in the 'Potts' seat' barely a fortnight, but what a fortnight.
"It's been a good start," he agreed with a degree of understatement. "That's three from three at this meeting so far. It's been fantastic."
He added: "It was just raw ability that got him through today. He was unbelievably green. He was jumping up in the air a little bit, and he had never gone that pace in a competitive race before. Halfway down the back the penny dropped and I knew when I straightened up he would always win. When he got to the front he had a good look at the stands and idled, but he's just very, very good."
Runner-up Captain Forez was taking a big step up and will be another to follow next season.
Trainer Dan Skelton said: "He's still a maiden and hasn't run since December. We will start next year in a novice, go to Newbury over Christmas. We're just going to make him into the best horse he can be as a hurdler and go chasing the year after.
"I don't want him to go chasing without enough experience over hurdles. He needs a bit more knowledge."