Paul Ferguson provides some antepost insight for the Ascot Hurdle and picks out the one he looks to follow.
The only plus point about the current lack of jumps racing is that it allows plenty of time to look ahead at future races and, having looked through the entries for the Ladbroke Hurdle (Ascot 18th December), Oscar Whisky stands out at the prices.
Nicky Henderson trains the ante-post favourite for the race, in the shape of the rapidly-improving Aegean Dawn, but he is now rated only 4lbs lower than his stable-mate, who has yet to be sighted this term.
The dual bumper winner effortlessly won his first two starts over hurdles, on the second occasion giving Cois Farraig (Grade 2 novice chase winner last Friday) 6lbs and a hammering at Sandown, before losing his unbeaten record at Cheltenham.
Only 4l off Greatwood Hurdle winner Menorah in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Oscar Whisky ran a cracking race considering it was the first time in his life he was ever popped a question by Barry Geraghty.
The five-year-old kicks off the season on a workable looking mark of 146 and it will be bitterly disappointing if he doesn’t end up being rated much higher, before he goes chasing.
The Welsh Champion Hurdle is his main aim in February (his owners also own Ffos Las racecourse), but this looks an ideal target beforehand.
Available at 20/1 (with VC) when betting opened on Wednesday, he looked way over-priced. Those odds vanished on Thursday morning, but the 14/1 that remains still looks to underestimate his chance.
If he lines up, I think he will be towards the head of the betting on the day, so he is worth a small investment while we wait for the snow and frost to subside.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2010-11 is available hot off the press from the 1st October for just £9.99
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase