Oscar Whisky (6g Oscar-Ash Baloo, by Phardante) brought Oscar a sixth G1 success this season when winning the G1 Aintree Hurdle on Grand National day in Liverpool on Saturday.
The six-year-old had finished third in the G1 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on his previous run and seemed to relish the step up to two and a half miles when scoring in convincing style under Barry Geraghty, who made much of the running after a slow early pace.
“It was a brave thing for Barry to do to go on, it was not Plan A but they had not gone much gallop,” said winning trainer Nicky Henderson. “Barry saw that and it was clever, intelligent, professional riding from him. He know the horse had stayed two and a half miles well at Cheltenham in January and decided to bring stamina into play.
“Barry said the horse had grown up a lot today and mentioned the Champion Hurdle next year. We’ve got the summer to think about next season. He did win the Welsh Champion Hurdle over two miles but that was not an earth-shattering race and he does have stamina.”
Geraghty added: “He’s very game. He came alive for me down the back – he winged a hurdle down there – and got competitive so I was just happy to go with him.
“He has promised loads at home and he has done well on the track – he was fourth in the G1 Supreme Novices’ and third in the G1 Champion Hurdle. I felt that better ground in the Champion Hurdle would have helped and he got it today.
“A faster-run Champion Hurdle with an end-to-end gallop would have suited him more as he gets two and a half miles well and – who knows – he could three miles next year but also has the class to step back in trip.”
Oscar Whisky, who was bred by Stephanie Hanly, was following on the heels of Oscars Well (6g Oscar-Placid Willow, by Convinced), winner of the G1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle and G1 Navan Novice Hurdle, G1 Tolworth Hurdle scorerMinella Class (6g Oscar-Louisas Dream, by Supreme Leader), Big Zeb (9g Oscar-Our Siveen, by Deep Run), winner of the G1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown and G1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle hero Peddlers Cross (5g Oscar-Patscilla, by Squill) on Oscar’s G1 roll of honour this season.