Oscar Whisky can boost Cheltenham claims with Sandown victory
Sandown acted quickly to arrange an all-chase card today and the move has paid off with the card passing an early morning inspection. That will be good news for Nicky Henderson who is keen to give Oscar Whisky more experience as he plots his path to the Cheltenham festival next month.
The popular gelding was smart enough over hurdles to be placed in a Champion Hurdle but has done little wrong over fences either. He was just collared by the useful Taquin Du Seuil first time out in a slowly run race but had his revenge last time out.
Although the winning margin was only three-quarters of a length, Barry Geraghty always looked in charge of the situation. Taquin Du Seuil has since gone on to win impressively at Haydock and the form looks solid.
Oscar Whisky faces just two rivals in Benvolio and Manyriverstocross. The Paul Nicholls-trained Benvolio has won at Newbury and Haydock and will handle this testing ground while Manyriverstocross can be forgiven his last run.
Trainer Alan King is getting his stable back in action after being forced to shut down due to a mystery virus. He is convinced that Manyriverstocross was one of those affected and he was a fair handicapper over hurdles.
The televised action gets under way at 1.40 with Desert Cry seeking a hat-trick for Donald McCain and Jason Maguire. He has gone up 8lbs for his latest victory and he showed a tendency to jump to his left that day.
Tommie O’Brien is an interesting booking on the top weight Eastlake, taking 10lbs off the Cheltenham winner. The course and distance winner is effectively running off a lower mark than when successful last time out.
The handicapper has taken a dim view of Tatenen’s Newbury victory and has raised him 12lbs for the Veterans’ Chase at 3.00. Andy Thornton gets on well with the ten-year-old and he may just be able to deny Fine Parchment a four-timer.
The handicap chase at 3.35 looks wide open with the weights headed by the gallant Pete The Feat. He handles this ground well and won’t go down without a fight.
His biggest threat may come from Jump City who ran well at Kempton last time behind Planet Of Sound. There may just be a doubt as to how he will handle this deeper ground but he must go well off the same mark here.
Selections: 1.15 Spanish Arch, 1.50 Eastlake, 2.25 Oscar Whisky, 3.00 Tatenen (NAP), 3.35 Pete The Feat (nb), 4.10 Un Anjou