Tuesday 12 December 2017

Waley-Cohen gives Oscar go-ahead for Aintree return

Robert Waley-Cohen says Aintree veteran Oscar Time has been given an entry in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.
Robert Waley-Cohen says Aintree veteran Oscar Time has been given an entry in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.

Thomas Kelly

Robert Waley-Cohen says Aintree veteran Oscar Time has been given an entry in this year's Crabbie's Grand National.

Entries for the world's greatest steeplechase closed today and Waley-Cohen had initially expressed doubts about whether last November's Becher Chase winner would even be entered as he is now a 14-year-old.

However, after some deliberation, the owner-trainer has given himself the option with Oscar Time, which has twice been placed in the National before - finishing runner-up to Ballabriggs in 2011 when in the care of Westmeath handler Martin Lynch.

Waley-Cohen tweeted: "Couldn't resist entering Oscar Time in the Grand National. In great form and is behaving younger than his age which anyway he doesn't know."

On the Flat, John Quinn is planning to give star juvenile The Wow Signal a prep race before going for Classic glory in the English 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2.

After running away with an Ayr maiden on debut last May, the son of Starspangledbanner went on to claim the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Morny at Deauville during a tremendous summer campaign. His season ended disappointingly as he failed to fire in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October, but Quinn is confident his charge will bounce back as a three-year-old.

"The Wow Signal had a nice break and then came back in after Christmas and is back cantering. He is a big, strong colt and is very enthusiastic," he said.

"The 2000 Guineas is his number one spring target and I think that it will be helpful to get a prep race into him beforehand, so he will probably go for the Craven Stakes or the Greenham.

"I wouldn't want to make any major excuses (about his Longchamp performance), but when he came home afterwards he was a very tired colt who had clearly had enough, whereas after his Ascot and Deauville runs he bounced back straight away."

All of The Wow Signal's three victories to date have come over the sprint distance of six furlongs, but Quinn does not expect a step up to a mile to be a problem.

Irish Independent

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