Oscar nominated for Aintree hurdle; Punchestown a possibility

Oscar nominated for Aintree hurdle; Punchestown a possibility

Owner Dai Walters has confirmed Oscar Whisky remains on course to bid for a hat-trick in the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle on Thursday week.

Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old has won the Grade One prize by a neck from Thousand Stars for the last two years, but returns to Merseyside with something to prove, having been pulled up following a disappointing display in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Walters is looking forward to seeing his charge return to the more suitable distance of two and a half miles and is excited about the prospect of a novice chase campaign next season.

Walters said: “I spoke to Nicky on Sunday and, at the moment, it’s all systems go for Aintree – Nicky tells me he looked perfect.

“Barry (Geraghty, jockey) said he didn’t feel right at Cheltenham. I don’t know whether he pulled a muscle or what, but he’s fine again now.

“He won’t be running over three miles again, I can assure you.

“Hopefully he’ll go to Aintree, if not there then Punchestown, but at the moment we’re planning towards Aintree.

“After that we’ll look forward to going over fences with him next season.

“He’ll jump a fence no problem and there will be plenty of races for him at around two and a half miles.”

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