15:05 Aintree: Oscar Whisky can bounce back again and land three-timer
Nigel Twiston-Davies is no stranger to success in this race having captured the prize twice since the millennium with Mister Morose and Khyber Kim three years ago and he arrives on Merseyside this year with likely favourite, The New One.
Despite suffering only his second reversal in nine starts to this year’s impressive Neptune winner At Fishers Cross, the master of Grange Hill Farm refused to dilute his world class evaluation of his stable star ahead of the Festival.
Those lofty expectations were fulfilled in fine fashion with Sam Twiston-Davies employing different tactics to those blamed for the defeat, scooting away up the Cheltenham hill with notable colours lowered in behind.
Aintree cannot compete with the main stage of the Cotswolds, but there is little doubt that a follow-up victory here will be an even greater achievement at 11/4. Even without the worthy considerations of the Festival ‘bounce’ factor and the majority of opposition proven to be from the top draw, only two five-year-olds have managed to win this in the last 22 years.
Oscar Whisky attempts to join past giants of the timber Monksfield and Morley Street in capturing the race three years in succession. The eight-year-old disappointed badly in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle but it has to be remembered that connections have never swerved from the truth that this high-quality gelding is at his best over 2m4f.
Encouragingly both of his triumphs in this have followed reversals of varying severity and it is 6/1 that he does so again. In 2011 he finished a creditable third in the Champion Hurdle and this year had his Festival nightmare cut short as Solwhit rolled back the years.
If Oscar Whisky is to find his way on the betting slip Willie Mullins’ Thousand Stars also requires consideration at 11/1. Runner-up to both of Oscar Whisky’s victories, Closutton’s only representative has come into the race both time with indifferent form and a long break in the care of the season’s most successful trainer could quite conceivably have him ready to go one better.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.