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Oscar Whisky Cheltenham 15/12/2012

Oscar Whisky: the general 4-1 favourite for Thursday's World Hurdle

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Henderson unsure about Oscar Whisky stamina

NICKY HENDERSON, who has recorded three Cheltenham Festival winners this week including the magnificent Sprinter Sacre on Wednesday, has question marks over Oscar Whisky staying three miles in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

The Dai Walters-owned eight-year-old, who will be ridden by Barry Geraghty and is the general 4-1 favourite, was beaten over Thursday's course and distance by leading World Hurdle contender Reve De Sivola in January.

He was third in the 2011 Champion Hurdle and looked a non-stayer when fifth in last term's World Hurdle.

Henderson, however, has always maintained he was not right that day.

"With Oscar Whisky it's a question of does he or doesn't he stay," said the meeting's winingmost trainer.

"Two and a half miles is his optimum trip, there's no doubt about it, but he has to try and without Big Buck's the race has opened up enormously.

"We have to accept what happened last year, but he wouldn't have won at two and a half that day and he was very distressed afterwards."

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, yet to have a festival winner this week, saddled the mighty Big Buck's to win four World Hurdles, but is without his injured superstar on Thursday.

He fields Celestial Halo, a 50-1 shot, and 11-1 chance Wonderful Charm, the mount of Ruby Walsh and the potential dark horse in the 13-runner field.

"Wonderful Charm is quite a nice horse but having run only once we're a bit in the dark about everything," said Nicholls.

"Ruby has ridden him at home and likes him so him riding is an obvious plus but we are going into the unknown."

 
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