Paddy The Oscar to continue as leading man for Harris
Paddy The Oscar, the remarkable 15-year-old who struck at Chepstow on Friday, is showing no signs of slowing down according to his trainer Grace Harris, who knows the veteran better than anyone and is already eyeing another trip to the track for a follow-up victory.
Harris, who trains close to Chepstow, said the interest in her stable star had been incredible after his stellar season, when he has been out of the first three just once in eight starts.
That fine run continued at Chepstow, where he came home in a 2m7½f handicap chase 11 lengths clear under Conor Ring, who has built a fruitful relationship with the old favourite.
"Where we train is quite quiet and he's got a lot of land to go around, so doesn't have to do the same thing every day," said Harris, who started training him when he was 11 and rides him every day.
"He thrives on work, the more work you give him the happier he is.
"We took him to Hereford this season and he hated it, so we'll stick to the tracks he likes, Chepstow and Warwick. He'll have a week in the field to have a rest and might come back at Chepstow on March 22. That's the aim, but he'll tell us when he's ready to go again."
Racing Post historian John Randall on another golden oldie
The BHA does not put an official age limit on runners, but it is inconceivable that it would allow a horse as old as 22 to take part in a race.
Yet it happened in June 1962 when Creggmore Boy, who had been foaled in 1940, ran the final race of his career, coming last of the four finishers in the Furness Selling Handicap Chase at Cartmel.
The veteran had scored his final victory in that same race five years before, and had also come second at Ludlow at the age of 21 for owner-trainer Horace Cousins.
Paddy The Oscar, Harris added, acts like a four-year-old so there was little intention of signing off on a high on Friday.
"He absolutely loves it," she said. "If you see him out in the yard he's the happiest horse when he's galloping.
"We wouldn't ever want him to be retrained because he doesn't like doing dressage or showjumping, or anything like that. The minute he runs a bad race we'll probably retire him and keep him as a hunter and lead horse here. He'll definitely tell us when he's had enough.
"We've been saying for the last two years this might be the last season we have with him, but his form is remarkable for his age - he's been out of the frame only once and I don't see him stopping anytime soon."
Paddy The Oscar runs in the colours of long-time family friend Deborah Lawton and Harris's mother Michelle, who was watching on from Spain.
"She's in Lanzarote and did watch it, but it was raining over there so she wasn't very happy," added Harris. "It was lovely at Chepstow though, and I did tell her that!
"For a horse of his age to come back and win again makes all the hard work worthwhile. I had someone send me a cheque for £20 to buy some carrots for him after he won the other day.
"My phone hasn't stopped and it's lovely for people to recognise what he's done."
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