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William Hill All England Cup - Newcastle 480M - £10,000

ON the tenth anniversary of his last winner in the William Hill All England Cup (480m) the talent that is Charlie Lister proved he still has the Midas touch by sending out Oscar Whisky to land this year’s renewal of the £10,000-to-the-winner Category One at Newcastle.

This was a competition Lister farmed during the late nineties through to the early noughties. In a nine-year period between 1997-2006 he won it five times with Endon Tiger (1997), Derbay Flyer (1999), Toblermorey Boy (2000), Bell Devotion (2005) and Geordie Parker (2006).

Oscar Whisky is without doubt a most deserved winner at the end of a year during which he has finished fourth in the Midland Puppy Derby and second in both the Sussex Cup and Midland Gold Cup. So close yet so far in three Category One competitions but now he has finally bagged a big one.

He did it the hard way. Having drawn trap six in a race consisting of six railers, a fast start was crucial to the chances of Oscar Whisky. On his immediate left he had Ballymac Darragh, a dog who has an unnerving habit of easing up as he approaches the bends.

Ballymac Darragh was one of the quickest away with Tynwald Baz on the inside. Oscar Whisky hadn’t started too badly but he very quickly upped the tempo on the run-up and, approaching the first bend, he bravely crossed to the rails and kicked clear.

That was without doubt the moment that defined the race as Oscar Whisky surged ahead of the Jimmy Wright-trained Droopys Five, who was second, and the frustrating and very quick Ballymac Darragh, who ran on so well to take third. The winning time was a sizzling 28.24sec - just one hundredth of a second slower than the fastest of the year recorded by Droopys Buick.

Tynwald Baz, quickly away from trap two, held third until he was passed close to the wire by Ballymac Darragh. He was, though, well ahead of Brian Thompson’s duo Calzaghe Billy and Shutthe Backdoor, neither of whom got a run after early crowding and finished fifth and sixth as a consequence.

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

Ian Sutherland (assistant to Charlie Lister, the trainer of Oscar Whisky) “The dog really deserved this. He has been unlucky in the Category Ones he has contested this year but tonight is his night. I was worried when the five dog (Ballymac Darragh) went to the bend so well. But our fella ran the corner brilliantly. He did everything right this evening. It had to be a fast time after he got around the bend in front, and I’m so pleased for him and the owners.”

 

Jamie Naylor (Part-owner of Oscar Whisky): “It was his fourth Category One. He had to win one of them. It’s a great feeling.”

 

THE SUPPORTING CARD

THERE was an expectation that the winning distance was going to be close to double figures when Rubys Rascal, the odds-on favourite and a powerful stayer, hit the front at the first bend during the William Hill Great North Run (670m) at Newcastle on Thursday.

As it turned out, though, the dog widely acknowledged as the most exciting new stayer on the block following his victory in the Pinpoint Yorkshire St Leger last month held on only by a neck from the persistent Shellam Maeby to land the £3,000 first prize.

Whilst the winning distance is a slim one, there was never really a point at which it looked as though Rubys Rascal wasn’t going to win. There may even have been an element of Mark Wallis’ dog just doing enough. Who knows?

The winning time for Rubys Rascal was 40.58sec (normal) as he won his 16th race from 31 starts since joining Wallis at the backend of last year. Shellam Maeby had six and half lengths to spare over evergreen Billys Bullet, who was third.

WHAT CONNECTIONS HAD TO SAY

John Clarke, (owner of Rubys Rascal): “He’s doing so well. I was surprised to see him lead but the four (Shellam Maeby) gave him a good race. We’re looking forward to the St Leger. He’s most certainly the best dog I’ve ever owned. It’s tremendous how far he has come. It wasn’t that long ago he was in four-bend graded races at Towcester. We then stepped him up in trip gradually and now find ourselves in this position. He must now be one of the best dogs in the country.”

Daniel Wallis (son of Mark Wallis, trainer of Rubys Rascal): “I think he is the most promising stayer in training and I think there is a lot more to come from him. He’ll go for all the big races in the next year or so.”