Oscar Whisky to lead Henderson top trainer charge at Cheltenham 2014
Nicky Henderson won the overall Trainers’ Championship for the first time since 1987 last term, but lost out on leading trainer honours at the Cheltenham Festival to Willie Mullins.
This term the Old Etonian handler will have all the more hope of securing the double with a fourth musketeer potentially ready to join the three Cheltenham standing dishes down at his Seven Barrows yard in Oscar Whisky.
Sprinter Sacre, Simonsig and Bobs Worth all look bound for further Festival glory this term and Dai Walters’ classy grey has joined them towards the upper echelons of the Cheltenham 2014 odds after it was announced that he will swap hurdles for fences in the new campaign.
A fine Cheltenham record and an all but faultless ledger when it comes to contests over a 2m4f trip earmark him as bound for the Jewson Novices Chase at the Festival and he would be a confident Cheltenham 2014 tip if taking that route in March.
He has previously taken in nine races at Prestbury Park, winning four times and placing on a further two occasions but the real key to the son of Oscar is an intermediate trip, with six of his runs at distances between 2m4f and 2m5f ending in the winner’s enclosure.
A lack of Festival success can be directly attributed to the absence of a championship hurdles race over that trip yet Oscar Whisky can still point to a Supreme Novices Hurdle fourth, a Champion Hurdle third and a World Hurdle fifth as evidence of his Cheltenham Festival credentials.
The Jewson’s status as a slightly lesser race may encourage the gelding’s connections to ponder the Arkle instead, but equally should they make the sensible choice and choose the longer race fans of the jumps game could well have another Henderson hotpot to cheer home come Cheltenham 2014.