Horses To Follow » Oscar Whisky

Oscar Whisky

Oscar Whisky was weak in the market before the Cheltenham & Three Counties Club Hurdle on New Year’s Day as his trainer expressed concerns over the extended two-an-a-half-mile trip. He was always travelling powerfully though with his jumping showing no sign of rustiness, despite the fact that he is just a second-season hurdler and that he had been off the track for nine months. Settled in fifth for the first part of the race, he was just lobbing along travelling very well, albeit against rivals, the majority of whom will probably turn out to be better at further than two and a half miles, especially in small fields, despite including a horse who won a Triumph Hurdle and finished second in a Champion Hurdle and another horse who nearly made all in the Triumph last season. He took closer order at the top of the hill, moving into third, before a quick jump at the second last took him right onto the heels of the leaders. Travelling by far the best turning in, Barry Geraghty was anxious not to commit too soon but he was very impressive from the back of the last, not having to be hit behind the saddle, only kept up to his work with some flicks down the neck to pull right away from Any Given Day, Celestial Halo and Karabak.

Oscar Whisky had looked impressive in winning all of his first four racecourse starts – two bumpers and two novice hurdles – before lining up as one of the favourites for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle where he ran more than creditably to finish fourth to rivals with more hurdling experience in what was a hot race. He seems to have strengthened and matured over the summer and, while it is shaping up to be a hot Champion Hurdle this season, on this performance Oscar Whisky deserves his place among the contenders. Champion Hurdlers often act over further than two miles. Geraghty was fairly effusive in his praise of the horse afterwards, which was significant coming from a jockey of his calibre and experience, and odds of 14/1 about him for the Champion are fair.

1st January 2011