OSCARS WELL SUITED BY FAST CHAMPION PACE
View from the the Jessica Harrington and Sabrina Harty camps ahead of Tuesday's Champion Hurdle.
The seven-year-old was runner-up to Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle and would probably have won the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the 2011 Festival but for a mistake at the last.
"Oscar has been improving with every run this year and I feel he has improved again since his run at Leopardstown when runner up to 'The Fly'," the County Kildare trainer told her website, www.jessicaharringtonracing.com.
"I think the stronger pace that will be set in the Champion Hurdle will suit him better and hopefully play into our hands. He has such a high cruising speed.
"Realistically I do feel Hurricane Fly is going to be very hard to beat but it's racing, you never know what can happen.
"Look what happened to Oscar at the last hurdle last year, would he have won? We will never know.
"But I do feel he will run a big race on Tuesday and all his preparation hasn't led me to think otherwise."
Jockey Robbie Power also thinks Oscars Well has plenty going for him.
"One thing about him is he has a fantastic cruising speed," he said.
"He almost travelled too well in the Neptune last year and we were thinking after Cheltenham we should have gone for the two-mile race (Supreme), but he's just a horse that as the season went on got quicker and quicker.
"He's done the same this year and there's the old saying you should never be afraid of one horse.
"It will be very hard to beat Hurricane Fly, but if something goes wrong, hopefully we'll be there to pick up the pieces.
"If we get a place we'll be over the moon."
Kalann is the outsider of the field, but his trainer Sabrina Harty is not without hope.
"He scoped badly (after Gowran) so we put him on antibiotics and he is fine now," said the County Kildare handler.
"He did it very easily when he won at Cheltenham in October and the way he did it was very impressive, but he was quite a small horse then and he has got bigger and stronger since then.
"He is a good-ground horse and all his runs in Ireland are on soft ground so we just put a line through them. He has never won on ground with soft in the description.
"In the Irish Champion Hurdle, the ground was yielding the day before but on the day it was almost unraceable, so we just let him hack round and he had a short break after Down Royal anyway.
"He is a laid-back horse and that is why we hold him up as it appears to suit him."