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Taunton Preview: Zulu Oscar can score for red-hot Fry

Trainer Harry Fry has made a terrific start to the new NH season and Zulu Oscar looks a worthy favourite to provide him with another winner in the 2m 1f novices’ hurdle at Taunton today (2.40).

The gelding looked a smart prospect when landing back-to-back bumpers at Wincaton and Kempton last season, and was particularly impressive in the latter.

The five-year-old travelled strongly throughout and after cruising into contention two from home only had to be driven out to beat Ourmanmassini by 2 1/4 lengths in what looked a competitive contest for the grade.

It was a performance which suggested Zulu Oscar had a big engine and the scope to make up into a very smart hurdler this season.

However, thisng didn’t go to plan on Zulu Oscar’s debut over the obstacles at Kempton last month when he was sent off the well-backed 5/2 second favourite only to stumble and unseat his rider at the first.

That is not the start that connections would have wanted, but it was a Listed contest and the fact that Zulu Oscar was pitched into such a hot affair first time up over hurdles speaks volumes.

The son of Oscar is clearly held in very high regard, and this contest is far weaker and represents andideal opening for Zulu Oscar to open his account before going on to better things.

In the 2m 1f hurdle (3.10), May Be Some Time is a fascinating contender on handicap debut and could well have got in lightly.

The Stuart Kittow trained gelding is a three time winner on the flat who shaped with plenty of promise in three runs over hurdles last season.

In the first of those May Be Some Time caught the eye when staying on under tender handling to finish a never nearer 7 1/2 length sixth of 16 to Wadswick Court in a decent novice hurdle at Huntingdon.

The six-year-old finished just three lengths behind the fourth home Chalk It Down, and that one has since gone on to win three times and is now rated 138.

May Be Some time then posted a solid effort to third to the now 125-rated Speedy Tunes at the same venue, before chasing home the 128-rated Dubawi Island at Chepstow.

The pair pulled 10 lengths clear of the field in the latter, and the third home Morning Reggie who has won since and is now officially rated 115.

Those three runs represent very strong strong form in the context of this class 4 contest and suggest that the assessor has taken a big chance in allotting May Be Some Time an opening mark of just 110.

The son of Iceman looks to have been brought along with handicaps in mind, and although well beaten on seasonal reappearance at at Stratford last month after 203 days on the sidelines, that run should have blown away the cobwebs and put him spot on for this.

Selections:
1.10: Tara Tavey
1.40: Queen Spud
2.10: Chinatown Boy
2.40: Zulu Oscar (NAP)
3.10: May Be Some Time (NB)
3.40: Kings Apollo
4.10: Sir Ivan