It has been another very good season for Jonjo O'Neill with 54 winners on the board and counting. Cloth Cap provided Jackdaws Castle with Ladbrokes Trophy success in late November and the stable sent out a double at Warwick on Wednesday. Annie Mc won her second Listed mares' chase of the season as she stayed on strongly to get the better of the front running Zambella by five and a half lengths. A winner at Doncaster at the backend of December, she has now won 5 of her 8 starts over fences. Despite the fact the seven year old has struggled when taking on the geldings in Graded company, namely the Marsh Novices' Chase last season and the Old Roan Chase in the Autumn, she has been a terrific mare for her connections.
The daughter of Mahler is featured in the Jonjo's interview in the Talking Trainers section of OJA and so, too, is stablemate Uptown Lady who won the mares' novices hurdle earlier on the card at the huge odds of 40/1. The Milan filly finished runner-up in her only Irish point for Denis Murphy before being acquired for £150,000. Following a couple of runs last season, she was fourth on her return to action at Leicester in December. Having undergone wind surgery since, she produced a much improved performance here and held every chance when left clear at the last following the departure of Fantastic Lady. A fourteen lengths winner, she ought to jump fences in time.
The card opened with a juvenile hurdle and I must confess I was disappointed Sage Advice could only finish runner-up A recent winner at Kempton, everything appeared to be going to plan for Dr Richard Newland's new recruit until he made a mistake at the third last. It can be argued the Make Believe gelding still had every opportunity to get the better of the more experienced Cabot Cliffs but it just seemed to knock Sam Twiston-Davies' mount off his stride and never got back into a rhythm thereafter. There will be more days in him, especially once he races on a sounder surface. It will be interesting to see what opening mark the handicapper gives him.
Finally, The Bosses Oscar has been well touted for the Pertemps Final at next month's Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, Gordon Elliott's gelding is ante-post favourite and holds an entry in one of the qualifiers at Musselburgh on Sunday. The six year old is rated 143 in Ireland and yet the British handicapper has allocated him 151 for the weekend. Is that a sign of things to come at the Festival? Time will tell.
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