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Oscar Whisky - Cheltenham 10.12.2011

Oscar Whisky: 5-1 for the World Hurdle and 14-1 for the Champion Hurdle

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Whisky could bypass Cheltenham Festival

NICKY HENDERSON has warned that his dual Aintree Hurdle winner Oscar Whisky may bypass this season's Cheltenham Festival, underlining that a third victory at Aintree remains the main objective for the Dai Walters-owned seven-year-old.

Much debate has centred around which Cheltenham race - the 2m½f Champion Hurdle or the World Hurdle over 3m - would be most suited to the 13-time winner but Henderson says he and Walters have considered missing the meeting altogether.

"There's a definite opinion that there might not be a race for him at all," Henderson told The Morning Line on Saturday. "Both Dai and I have discussed it at length. You have to conclude that at two and a half round there [Cheltenham] he's as good as you get.

"I just can't work out the World Hurdle last year. He wouldn't have won at two and a half and finished absolutely drunk. I don't think it was stamina. I 'm not saying that he's going to come back to three as I don't think he will."

Discussing potential targets before Aintree's Grand National meeting, Henderson added: "We have mapped out a plan where the principle objective is to try and win the Aintree Hurdle for a third year.

"The plan was to go to Cheltenham on New Year's Day, then to Ffos Las for the Welsh Champion Hurdle, then we've even said maybe the National Spirit and leave Cheltenham out of it. But if it came up soft at Cheltenham I think you'd be right in saying he'd have to come into the Champion Hurdle picture."

Paddy Power make Oscar Whisky their 5-1 joint-favourite for the World Hurdle and a 14-1 chance for the Champion Hurdle.    

 
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