Superstar hurdler Big Bucks would probably have been most people’s banker of the Cheltenham Festival before having to withdraw through illness in Paul Nicholls’ yard. Luckily for those of us still trying to hunt out a winner Barry Geraghty is here to quash any concerns that new favourite Oscar Whisky won’t get the trip.
The top jockey takes the ride on Oscar Whisky who heads the market at 7/2 ahead of well-backed Reve Di Sivola at 9/2. Wins in the John Smith’s Hurdle at Aintree and the Coral Hurdle at Ascot read well for punters who fancy the favourite but there is a pretty significant blotch on an otherwise impressive CV.
At last year’s Festival Oscar Whisky was a disappointing fifth in the World Hurdle, finishing almost 14 lengths behind Big Bucks sparking rumours that the Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old couldn’t last the trip.
To be fair, a three mile run with the last bit being up that killer hill would leave most of us in the Paddy Power office requiring medical attention. Preferably from a cute nurse.
Luckily Oscar Whisky’s level of fitness is far superior to ours and Barry Geraghty has no concerns about the distance. A decent run to come second over the trip and in heavy ground was enough to convince Geraghty that there’ll be no problems on the biggest stage of them all.
Listen to all of Barry Geraghty’s thoughts on the World Hurdle and Oscar Whisky here: