LAMBOURN trainer Nicky Henderson is likely to point Oscar Whisky towards a prep at Sandown after he strengthened his Festival claims with a clear-cut defeat of Taquin Du Seuil in the Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase.
His three-quarters of a length verdict might have been lessened had the runner-up not nodded on landing over the last with Tony McCoy, but the way Barry Geraghty’s mount galloped up the hill it is hard to imagine the result was affected.
The 5-6 winner, formerly very smart over hurdles, will probably head for the Jewson Novices’ Chase in March but will also be given an entry in the Arkle Trophy.
Henderson said: “He’s on the older side to be switching to fences at nine, and I must wish him happy birthday, but he's taken to it well. He’s a stuffy horse so we’ll probably give him another run. It could be in the Scilly Isles (at Sandown).
“Remembering he wasn't that far off Champion Hurdle class we’ll put him in the Arkle as well, and that would be an option if it came up soft.”
Henderson issued a further bulletin on Sprinter Sacre, who is to canter today.
He said: “It’s all good, but Friday is the crucial day when Celia (Marr, specialist) will come down from Newmarket with a heart monitor. We are a long way from being in complete daylight, but the worst could well be behind us. The cardiographs showed distinctly how his heart had self-corrected.”