Oscar Time saddles up for another crack at Aintree with Thurles appearance
OSCAR Time, runner-up in last season's John Smith's Grand National, starts on the road for another crack at the Aintree highlight when he reappears at Thurles on Thursday.
The 10-year-old, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and ridden by his son, Sam, is among a field of five for the Rock Of Cashel Hurdle.
Oscar Time began the last campaign by finishing second in this race 12 months ago and trainer Martin Lynch has mapped out a similar programme this time.
"He's summered very well, he's come back in, and his early training has gone very well," said the County Westmeath handler.
"He's more or less at the same stage of fitness as he was at this time last year when he ran in this race, which was a starting point then, as well.
"At the moment we have a similar plan to last year, but as we go along we'll make it up if we have to.
"The idea is to end up at Aintree and do as good as last year or maybe three four or lengths better, if we can.
"The ground is particularly heavy, heavier than it was when we started him off last year.
"He's handled it on other occasions and we're hoping it's not too heavy for his first run."
Oscar Time's rivals include last year's Grade One novice hurdle winner Zaidpour, trained by Willie Mullins.
The five-year-old steps up to this extended two and three-quarter miles for the first time.
Boland's Corner, Leave Him Alone and Bacher Boy complete the quintet.