Two Grand National stalwarts, amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen and Oscar Time (13 g Oscar-Baywatch Star, by Supreme Leader) combined to win the G3 Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
The 13-year-old son of Oscar, who has been placed in two Grand Nationals, faced 24 rivals in the three and a quarter contest over the big Aintree fences and took the lead from favourite Our Father after the final obstacle.
It was a family success with the winner trained and owned by Sam Waley-Cohen’s father Robert, who said: “We have had the most enormous fun with Oscar Time. We bought him to run in the Grand National and he was second the first year (2011), when brilliantly trained by Martin Lynch in Ireland.
“He was fourth in the National two years later, got a bit injured, and we said ‘he’s pretty old and no horse at that age has ever won the National, so we will take him to our home in Warwickshire, nurse him back to health and get him going’.
“Then he was going so well that we said ‘let’s run him in a point-to-point’, which he won very easily. That didn’t take much out of him and we ran him in a hunter chase nine days later, which he won, and another 14 days later, which he won.
“We said ‘he’s 13 but he has still got it, so we will give it a go’. The Becher was obviously the target – he is a better horse here at Aintree than he is anywhere else. He gets here and he sort of stands up straight and loves it.”
The 32-year-old winning rider said: “I didn’t want to let Our Father get too far ahead, but I just took my time. I thought he’d gone for home early enough anyway and if I’d chased him Oscar Time would not have lasted.
“The run-in felt very long as Oscar Time doesn’t do much in front and I could hear the other horse coming, but to be fair my horse has pulled out enough. He is a great horse and part of the family at home. It is a very special day.”