Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson has announced that his smart hurdler, Oscar Whisky, is set to embark on a novice chasing campaign this winter. Connections are eager to try the eight-year-old over the bigger obstacles after a strong career which has included two successes in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle. The news has seen the horse jump straight to the top of a number of Cheltenham Festival markets with a couple of races open to a horse of his class.
Nicky Henderson is of course blessed with a very strong team at Seven Barrows and he is clearly happy to see Oscar Whisky go novice chasing. That should allow the horse to become a major threat the Festival in March having struggled to find a suitable race as a hurdler in the past. He was good enough to finish third in a Champion Hurdle over two miles in 2011 but he struggled to make the three mile trip of the World Hurdle last season, despite travelling like the best horse.
A novice chasing season is likely to see Oscar Whisky stay at his preferred trip of 2m4f with the Jewson Novices Chase at Cheltenham looking like the ideal target. That is currently reflected in the betting for the race with the former Welsh Champion Hurdler sitting on top of the ante post market at the moment. He is also towards the top of the Arkle betting over the minimum trip which could also come into play depending on the ground conditions in the Spring.
Oscar Whisky certainly looks like a big strong chasing type but until he has jumped a fence in public, there will always be one or two doubts. He is clearly a class act as he shows in his races and given his ideal trip, he will surely be a major contender at Cheltenham. He is just another weapon in the all-powerful Nicky Henderson arsenal this season as the team at seven Barrows prepare one of the strongest teams in recent memory.