Winless Oscars Well goes for Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival


Tagged under: 3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

Jessica Harrington confirmed Oscars Well will aim for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival despite being winless at two miles this term.

Seven-year-old Oscars Well has been beaten three times since reverting to the minimum trip this season, but his trainer is happy to keep him to two miles for the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

On his most recent outing, Oscars Well finished third behind Dermot Weld’s Unaccompanied and Willie Mullins’ Thousand Stars in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown on 29 December and is still looking for his first win this season following defeats at Down Royal and Punchestown in November.

"Everything is fine with him and I was happy enough with his run at Christmas," she said.

"He had to do a lot of the donkey work and was still only beaten just over three lengths, so it was another good run. He'll go for the Irish Champion Hurdle next and then to Cheltenham for the Champion Hurdle there."

Oscars Well was a Grade One winner over two and a half miles in his novice season and contested the Neptune Novices Hurdle at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival when he was unfortunate to make a blunder two out when coming to challenge with the winner First Lieutenant.

Despite his promise over the longer trip, Harrington says her charge won’t be stepping back up in distance until after the Cheltenham Festival.

"We know he stays further, so we can always step up in trip after Cheltenham if we wanted to, but we'll see," the trainer added, with the Aintree Hurdle being a race connections might consider.

Oscars Well is 25/1 with Coral to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and could meet the ante-post favourite Hurricane Fly in the Irish equivalent on 29 January.

Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old has had a delayed start and missed a couple engagements already this season. He is set to make his debut at Leopardstown later this month after impressing in a racecourse workout at the track last week.

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