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  • How Hewick Won The Oaksey Chase At Sandown: Andy Gibson Reflects

How Hewick won the Oaksey Chase at Sandown: Andy Gibson reflects

Horse racing analyst Andy Gibson continues his look back at the final days of the National Hunt season by assessing the performance and prospects of each horse in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown.

Sandown 14:50 April 29 2023

Bet365 Oaksey Chase: 2 miles 6 furlongs 164 yards (Going = good)
Six runners went to post for this Grade Two chase, with Hewick justifying his short-priced favourite tag by leading home the four finishers at well-spaced four-length intervals.
Andy Gibson assesses each performance in more depth:


I imagine Hewick will face far more difficult tasks in the future compared with the one he faced here. His trainer stated post-race that he had wanted to go for the Bet365 Gold Cup, but due to his fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup he had erred on the side of giving him a confidence booster in this less competitive contest.
The two Ditcheat horses both flopped badly and Eldorado Allen has had a busy season and ran accordingly. Furthermore, I am far from sure that the runner-up actually stays this extended intermediate trip, thus leaving Hewick with the relatively simple task of coming home in front.

First Flow

I suspect that First Flow only just about got home here due to the lack of depth in this race. plus the fact that he enjoyed the best of trips out in front.
For much of the race he benefited from an untroubled lead which allowed him to attack from the front whilst holding a significant advantage over all of his rivals bar the eventual winner.
He has probably run close to his best in each of the last two renewals of the Grade Two Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. Despite the fact that he is now an eleven-year-old, one would guess that the Huntingdon race will be the number one target again next season.

Fantastic Lady

I would suggest it was a case of job done when Fantastic Lady acquired Grade Two black type by finishing in third position here.
I am not implying that she was not doing her best to win this chase, but at the same time, given the potential financial benefits involved, one would have to think that securing third position was at the top of Nico de Boinville's agenda from the Pond Fence to the winning post.

Eldorado Allen

It may be relevant that this was Eldorado Allen's seventh tough race of a season stretching out from late October until late April.
Although he did not manage to get his head in front this season, he still was able to pick up plenty of place prize money for his connections.
There is a hint in his performances to suggest that we might expect more from him in the first half of next season rather than mark him up in March and April.
I am far from sure on this point as maybe the tasks he has been set have increased in difficulty as the season has developed to its culmination in April.Either way he has performed close to his best first time out in each of the last four seasons which might be worth remembering.
His seasonal debut record now reads: 1 1 1 2 - and the only horse to beat him in that sequence is the high-class Bravemansgame who finished three and a half lengths in front of him in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby in October 2022.


The race was over for McFabulous soon after his mistake at the 11th fence. He either downed tools very quickly or suffered an injury which forced his rider to pull him up.
On his day he is a very good horse, but at the same time, I have him down as a horse that will continue to need a lot to fall in his favour to prevail.


Maybe the fact that Solo was unable to get to the front and dominate this race has ultimately played a significant role in this disappointing display.
Along with his stable mate I suspect he will continue to look very good on a going day and also down tools quickly when a race does not pan out well for him.
I doubt that it is a coincidence that his two victories this season have both been earned when he has not seen another rival from start to finish.

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