Oscar Whisky jumps clear of Rock On Ruby in the Aintree HurdlePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Whisky denies Stars in Aintree Hurdle repeat
Report: Aintree, Saturday
John Smith´s Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f, 4yo+
TRAINER Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty racked up a treble on Grand National day as Oscar Whisky narrowly denied Thousand Stars in the Aintree Hurdle.
The finishing order of the first two was a carbon copy of last year's contest.
Rock On Ruby came home in third, while Ruby Walsh was lucky to walk away after he was involved in heavy fall on 2-1 favourite Zarkandar. He was later stood down for the day on medical advice.
Henderson, whose wins came on the first three races on the card, said: "It's a complete rerun of last year - you have to real sorry for the grey [Thousand Stars] as he's finished second again.
"We tried three miles [at Cheltenham] and he had a very hard race - perhaps I ran him in the wrong race. He blatantly didn't get it and we worried we might not have time to get him back."
In the early stages the field was led along at a modest pace by Rock On Ruby with Oscar Whisky, Thousand Stars and Zarkandar tracking until his mishap.
Three from home 5-2 shot Rock On Ruby still held the advantage, although Oscar Whisky moved well in second as Paul Townend started to get busy on Thousand Stars in third.
Oscar Whisky landed alongside the long-time leader at the second-last but shrewd observers could see that Townend was just starting to make slow, steady progress on his mount.
The longer they raced the closer Thousand Stars got, but the line came too soon and Oscar Whisky was a neck in frontat the post - the same winning margin as 2011.
The winning owner Dai Walters said: "It's a dream come true and I'm delighted with Nicky and the team."
>> Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty went on to notch a four-timer after the 28-1 victory of Lifestyle in the handicap hurdle for conditional riders.