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Aintree: Oscar right on Time in the Becher

Oscar Time became the oldest horse in history to win the Becher Chase at his beloved Aintree, taking the Grade 3 contest at the ripe old age of thirteen. Representing the father and son combo of Robert Waley-Cohen and Sam Waley-Cohen, the veteran, fourth over the same fences in the Grand National last season, rolled back the years to give his young jockey yet another day to remember at Aintree.


Prominent from the off, Oscar Time and Sam Waley-Cohen got a beautiful clear run down the centre of the track as they tracked the pace being set by Alfie Spinner. Jumping brilliantly from fence to fence, the pair were still travelling well when the race began in earnest as the heavily backed 8/1 favourite Our Father hit the front and went clear under Conor O’Farrell.


Waley-Cohen asked his mount to close in on the leader as they approached the final fence and having come upsides his rival, put in a big jump to land a length up. The long run in proved to be no difficulty to the veteran, going on to score by 3/4 length from the strong finishing Mendip Express. Saint Are finished third, with Alfie Spinner hanging on for fourth.


Robert Waley-Cohen said of the winner: “We bought him to run in the National and the first year he was second for us when brilliantly trained by Martin Lynch and then he was fourth but picked up an injury, so we took him home and nursed him back to health.


“He won a point-to-point and a couple of hunter chases and even though he was 13 he showed that he still had it.


“This was the target, he’s better here than anywhere. He doesn’t get the National trip and he will be 14 in a few weeks so he won’t run.”


Son Sam added:  “I didn’t want to let Our Father get too far ahead, I just took my time. I thought he’d gone for home early enough anyway and if I’d chased him I wouldn’t have got home.


“The run-in felt very long as he doesn’t do much in front and I could hear the other horse coming, but to be fair he has pulled out enough.


“You’ve got to have the right horse and anyone could have ridden him today, as he’s such a good ride over these fences.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport


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