Whisky strong enough to win
Owner Dai Walters is hopeful the star of his string Oscar Whisky will get off the mark over fences at the second attempt at Cheltenham.
The top-class hurdler was an odds-on favourite for his chasing debut at Prestbury Park last month, but in a race run at a crawl, the eight-year-old was beaten a neck by the talented Taquin Du Seuil.
Walters is keeping his fingers crossed for a stronger gallop in today's Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices Chase.
He said: "I just hope it is a better race this time, as there was no speed at all in his last race.
"I think he will improve for his first run – all of Nicky's (Henderson) horses have been improving for a run, so he should be the same.
"We'll get this race out of the way before we make any plans," he added.
Oscar Whisky's most obvious danger is the Paul Nicholls-trained Wonderful Charm.
The five-year-old already has a rating of 152 over fences after completing a hat-trick in most impressive fashion at Newbury a fortnight ago.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' Red Riverman, Paul Henderson's Captain Ocana and Close House from David Pipe's yard complete the five-runner field.
Henderson echoed the thoughts of Walters in relation to pace being crucial to Oscar Whisky.
The Seven Barrows trainer said: "The lack of pace looks a worry again and it's a good race but he seems in good form."
Meanwhile, Racing Pulse looked a potentially exciting recruit to the jumping ranks when making an impressive British debut in the SV Rutter Novices Hurdle at Newcastle.
A bumper winner at Naas in late October for Cork-based Michael Winters, the four-year-old got his career with Malton handler John Quinn off to a flying start with an accomplished display.
Always travelling well in the hands of James Reveley, the 8-11 shot led after the third-last flight and galloped effortlessly clear to take the two-and-three-quarter-mile heat by 17 lengths from the pace-setting Sir Mangan.
"He was impressive and he could be anything. When he got into a rhythm his jumping was very good really," explained Reveley.
"I'd not sat on him before. It was a spare ride."