Bravo for Oscar at Sandown
Oscar Whisky landed the odds in the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices' Chase but it was hard work at Sandown.
Nicky Henderson's nine-year-old was sent off the 1-6 favourite to beat two rivals in the Grade One contest, but for a long way his backers will have been fretting.
He jumped sloppily at the back for Barry Geraghty and as the outsider Manyriverstocross took over from Benvolio with some slick jumping, Oscar Whisky suddenly had a race on his hands.
Geraghty had to get serious with the prolific winner, who has just the one entry in the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, but a big leap at the last, coupled with a mistake from Manyriverstocross, meant he came away to win by an exaggerated nine lengths.
"It was hard work, we went very quick," said Geraghty.
"Choc (Robert Thornton, on Manyriverstocross) travelled brilliantly and was throwing on the coal from early and I was struggling a lot of the way.
"I always felt coming away from the Railway fences there was a little bit there when I needed it.
"He was good at the last, he was very quick, and that made the difference, I delayed my challenge a little bit as he'd been sluggish through the race, there was no point getting involved too early.
"Cheltenham will be totally different. He has coped with soft ground but in top company he's better on good to soft."
Henderson said: "It was hard work but it was always going to be, they've done well to race.
"He's a stuffy devil, and while I would never run Bobs Worth or My Tent Or Yours on this you've just got to keep this horse going.
"He kept taking blows all the way through and he looked big, but that race will have been good for him and we are very much on schedule for Cheltenham - he loves the two and a half miles round there."