Oscar Wisky (centre) on his way to an easy Cheltenham winPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Oscar Whisky slams rivals in effortless style
Report: Cheltenham, Sunday
Cheltenham & Three Counties Club Hurdle 2m4½f, 4yo+
OSCAR WHISKY slammed his three rivals in effortless style as he posted back-to-back wins in this race to earn a quote of 5-1 from the sponsors for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old was full of running as he raced up the Cheltenham hill under Barry Geraghty and won with his head in his chest, with Ruby Walsh hard at work to get Poungach to within two lengths of the winner crossing the line. There were 13 lengths and more back to the other two.
Oscar Whisky was sent off a 4-6 chance to follow up his win in the Relkeel Hurdle last time and, although the official margin was not that great, his supporters never had a moment's worry as he travelled by far the best of these throughout and won this how heliked.
Cockney Trucker was sent into an early lead under Richard Johnson with Geraghty biding his time on the market leader. Racing towards the second last the four of them started to bunch up and while Poungach laid down a challenge to Oscar Whisky, he was merely toying with them.
Oscar Whisky finished third in last season's Champion Hurdle and while some bookmakers took this win as an opportunity to cut him for that race, Henderson ruled him out of that in favour of a tilt at three-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck's.
With Grandouet, Spirit Son and Binocular all likely to represent Henderson in the Champion Hurdle, Oscar Whisky will be stepped up in distance when he next runs at Cheltenham.
The trainer said: "I still think there can only be one race for him and that's the World Hurdle. He isn't going to win the Champion Hurdle. Aintree is the obvious place for him as he won there last year but we've got to be brave."
Before that though Oscar Whisky will drop back in trip for another race he won last year with the Welsh Champion at Ffos Las, the track set up by his owner Dai Walters, next.
Henderson added: "We will go to Ffos Las for the Welsh Champion Hurdle next, which might seem an odd way of doing things, but I think people can see the reason behindit from the owner's point of view. After that, we'll have a go at the World Hurdle."