The ante-post betting for the 2011 Champion Hurdle has been the most competitive of all the main races at the Chamltenham Festival this season and with the impressive win of Oscar Whisky at the weekend we have yet another contender to consider. We have seen four main runners dominate the betting all season with Binocular vying for favouritism with Irish Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly, Supreme Novices winner Menorah and the unbeaten Peddlers Cross. Oscar Whisky has muddied the waters yet further with his brilliant win in the Welsh Champion Hurdle and after connections confirmed him for the Champion Hurdle he was slashed across the board for the race with all the online bookmakers. Oscar Whisky had been aimed towards the Welsh Champion Hurdle all season for owner Dai Walters at Ffos Las and he duly scored without coming off the bridle as an odds-on favourite.
The win was highly impressive and connections will now let Oscar Whisky take his chance in the Champion Hurdle despite one or two believing he needs slightly further in top class company. The World Hurdle was under consideration for him over 3 miles and that could be his future trip as a Chaser but his win at Ffos Las has persuaded connections to stay at 2 miles this season. He will no doubt benefit from the quick pace that is always the case in the Champion Hurdle and on that basis he looks to be a genuine contender as the betting suggests, with bookmakers cutting him into around 11/1 for the highlight on day 1 of Cheltenham 2011. There is just a suggestion that he lacks the class of the likes of Peddlers Cross and Hurricane Fly, while there is nothing to suggest that he is capable of beating stable mate Binocular at this stage when he is at his best. It is clear though that Oscar Whisky is a horse on the up and his win at Ffos Las was hugely impressive, and in an extremely tough betting heat he could prove to be the value of the field at Cheltenham next month.