Aintree G1 for Oscar Whisky

Oscar’s brilliant son Oscar Whisky (7g Oscar-Ash Baloo, by Phardante) fought hard to see off Thousand Stars and G1 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby (7g Oscar-Stony View, by Tirol) to land his second consecutive victory in the G1 Aintree Hurdle on Saturday.

It was an 11th career success from 15 starts for Dai Walters’ tough seven-year-old and trainer Nicky Henderson is considering sending his charge chasing next season.

“That was a replay of last year,” said Henderson.”We tried three miles (in the G1 World Hurdle) and he had a very hard race at Cheltenham. He blatantly didn’t get the trip and was very tired after the race. He was very wobbly that day.

“We’ve had the extra week and there was work to do with him, so it’s amazing that he’s run to the pound again with Thousand Stars. The boys have done a great job with him at home. He’s done really well to get back for this.”

Looking ahead to next season, Henderson added: “He jumps really well and he’ll have to go over a fence at some stage.”

Jockey Barry Geraghty added: “Rock On Ruby went on and I was happy to follow him as that was the plan. I always felt coming out of the back-straight that I had him covered, but it was a case of delaying my challenge because I knew Thousand Stars and Zarkandar, who crashed out, would be nipping at our heels.

“We went a good gallop, we didn’t go quick, but we didn’t go a crawl either which it could have been. On his form maybe we went for the wrong race at Cheltenham, but a stiff two miles or two and a half miles will be fine.”

Oscar Whisky was bred by Stephanie Hanly and bought from Norman Williamson’s Oak Tree Farm for €80,000 by Dai Walters at the Goffs Land Rover Sale.

Harry Fry, an assistant to Rock On Ruby’s trainer Paul Nicholls, said: “We were the sitting duck. He wants a truly-run two miles with a good lead. He jumped well enough but he was in front doing the donkey work for everyone else.

“Next time we’ll make sure we put something into the race that can go a good gallop. That’s him finished for the season and everything will be geared around Cheltenham next March and a repeat attempt on the G1 Champion Hurdle.”

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