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Last Updated: 01/01/11 4:54pm
Oscar Whisky (left): Champion Hurdle contender?
Oscar Whisky (3-1) won the Cheltenham & Three Counties Race Club Hurdle on the bridle giving Nicky Henderson a quickfire double.
The six-year-old had been off the track since finishing fourth behind Menorah in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, however despite fitness concerns from his trainer he relished the outing and surged clear up the run-in to record a ready success.
Barizan and Celestial Halo had disputed the lead for most of the race, whilst the winner was quietly ridden by Barry Geraghty.
He moved his mount up to the heels of the leaders coming down the hill and his charge was the last off the bridle. A fluent jump at the last sealed victory, providing jockey and trainer with a quickfire double from the first two races on the card.
Henderson said: "We can bring him back to two miles now and decide after he's run in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.
"We were going to head for the Christmas Hurdle, but if we'd waited for that (on January 15) it would be getting perilously close the the Ffos Las race."
"He's got buckets of toe and has had a good blow.
"It's only his third hurdling run and he's still learning, but at least this time we know where we're going. Ffos Las is in the Champion Hurdle programme and has always been his big target. There's no way he'll step up to three."
Any Given Day (7-2) ran well in second despite making several mistakes throughout the race, and he in turn was well clear of both Karabak and Celestial Halo.
Although winning over 2m4f, the winner's odds were slashed for the Champion Hurdle, with Stan James cutting him to 16-1 from 50-1. Sky Bet go 12-1.