Walters relishing Whisky run
Owner Dai Walters is confident Oscar Whisky will head to the Cheltenham Festival with major claims following his determined victory in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
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The top-class hurdler was a 1/6 favourite to secure his third successive victory over fences in Sandown's Grade One feature, in which he faced just two inferior opponents.
However, it was not all plain sailing for Nicky Henderson's nine-year-old as he was made to work hard to see off Manyriverstocross, before eventually asserting after the final fence under Barry Geraghty.
Walters is looking forward to seeing his star horse line up in the JLT Novices' Chase at Prestbury Park in March.
He said: "Barry (Geraghty) knows the horse very well and knew what he had in the tank. When he wanted him, he was there and he ended up winning by nine lengths, so we're very pleased with him.
"It was very heavy going, which obviously wasn't ideal, and Nicky has five weeks to get him spot-on for Cheltenham now. That's where he's going and we'll look forward to it."
Another Walters runner with Festival aspirations is the Henderson-trained Whisper, who was narrowly denied by Saphir Du Rheu in a pulsating Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday.
"He ran a good race and I think the front two are both very decent horses," said Walters.
"He's come out of the race well, which is the main thing, and I would imagine he'll go to Cheltenham for the Coral (Cup). I don't think he needs another run between now and then, so he'll go straight there."