Flashback: Oscar performance was one to remember at Punchestown

Sun 10 May 2020

Silent Oscar’s career high also sadly marked the end of his racing days as he sprang a 20-1 shock at Punchestown in 2007.

Trained by Harry Rogers, the then eight-year-old had won three times for his previous team before joining Rogers for the 2006/7 campaign.

He did not show much for Rogers in his first three starts – but a third place at odds of 100-1 in the December Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown showed a flash of ability, although he failed to build on that in his next two starts.

Rogers then changed tack, switching Silent Oscar to the Flat and he duly obliged by beating 2006 Champion Hurdle second Macs Joy by two lengths.

With Silent Oscar clearly on form, Rogers took a shot at the ACCBank Champion Hurdle 12 days later – a race which read a bit like a who’s who of two-milers at that point in time.

Macs Joy was again in opposition, along with dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace and his old adversary Harchibald, plus Grade One winners Iktitaf and Strangely Brown.

There were only two in it with two flights to jump though, as Silent Oscar and Robbie Power went toe to toe with Barry Geraghty and Macs Joy, with the latter edging in front before the last, only for Silent Oscar to find a little more and prevail by a neck.

Rogers recalled: “He was an outsider, but we thought he had a chance as he’d won at the Curragh the time before. The only thing we were really worried about was the ground.

“It was a nice surprise when he won – we thought he’d have a chance, but we didn’t think he would win it.

“I’d not had the horse long, only eight or 10 months, and he showed you nothing at home, but he when he went to the track he was a different horse.”

Rogers believes Power’s efforts in the saddle were key, adding: “He got a great ride from Robbie on the day. He’d ridden a few winners for me and he was one of the best – he still is now.”

As swiftly as Silent Oscar appeared on the scene, he disappeared, with a leg injury ruling out a title defence before he nearly made it back to the track, only for another setback to finally end his racing career.

Rogers added: “Unfortunately that was the final start of his career.

“He had a bit of a bowed tendon, so he went and had some treatment and came back to us a while later. We had him ready to run at Leopardstown, but he just went wrong again a couple of days before the race.

“It’s a shame he couldn’t run again, but that’s horse racing.”

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