Oscar and Waley-Cohen out to make up lost time

 

Whatever his perceived imperfections as a jockey, nobody can question Sam Waley-Cohen as a horseman. In the spring of last year, he nearly pulled off a double that would have crowned the riding career of any professional, never mind an amateur confined to a handful of different mounts every season. Three weeks after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Long Run, Waley-Cohen rode Oscar Time to be foiled only by Ballabriggs in the Grand National itself – a performance that capped his remarkable record of wins and completions over the big fences at Aintree.

Martin Lynch, Oscar Time's trainer, and Waley-Cohen were suitably dismayed, then, when a setback ruled the chaser out of another crack at the race last season. And they are both anxiously hoping that Thurles passes an inspection this morning, so that the 11-year-old can start making up for lost time – especially so in the case of his rider, whose flight from England will already have left the ground.

"When we began his build-up to Aintree in January, we found a slight bit of heat in his leg," Lynch said yesterday. "With tendons, you never know, it's a day-by-day thing. But the injury looks very good and he is training very well. Age is not in his favour, but he's been lightly raced over the years and you can see that in him. He certainly doesn't think he's old."

Lynch has very few runners under Rules, instead concentrating on bringing through young stores and point-to-pointers to sell, but is certainly relieved he kept this one in his Co Westmeath yard. "For a horse to have as good a trip round the National as he did, and as hassle-free, must stand him in good stead if we can get him back there," Lynch said. "I just hope we can get a clear run with him. We used to pick and choose between hurdles and fences, but now he needs to get a few chase runs under his belt, and, hopefully, get back to where he was in April last year."

Difficult conditions underfoot have not discouraged several interesting prospects, meanwhile, convening for the start of the three-day Hennessy meeting at Newbury – notably in the GPG Novices' Chase. Highland Lodge produced an exuberant exhibition at Towcester earlier this month and looks as promising a horse as Emma Lavelle has handled.

"It's one of those exciting moments," the Andover trainer said. "He came out of his race at Towcester really well and I hope he'll handle the ground all right. I can't believe it's not going to be tacky, having been so wet and then dried out a bit, so it's going to be a big test of stamina."

Aaim To Prosper, who won his second Cesarewitch at the age of eight last month, becomes a rather elderly jumping debutant earlier on the card.

Conversely, another veteran dual winner of a great Flat race yesterday came to the end of the road when Borderlescott was finally retired. Now 10, the 2008 and 2009 Nunthorpe Stakes winner's continued enthusiasm had been a tribute to his trainer, Robin Bastiman. He was still able to win a Listed race at Beverley in September, the 14th success of a career that generated just over £775,000 in prize-money, but his form tapered off in the autumn and he is to be pensioned off.

"We were a bit worried after his last run, he wasn't quite right," Bastiman said. "He was probably telling us in a way. The owners have given the horse to my daughter, Rebecca. He'll be staying with us – he's part of the yard. It's a sad day, but he has done us proud."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Arctic Lynx (7.05 Kempton) Trapped wide last time but had retrieved earlier promise for his new stable.

Next best

Kaylee (7.35 Kempton) Has looked well up to surpassing this kind of rating.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory