Whisper Again At Aintree
Whisper won consecutive Liverpool Hurdles at Aintree on Grand National day to give Nicky Henderson his third winner of the week.
The 5-1 shot travelled well for a long way at Cheltenham in the colours of Dai Walters. But he was at the top of his game here as he overhauled World Hurdle hero Cole Harden to give Gold Cup-winning jockey Nico de Boinville another Grade One success.
Henderson said: “We were going to go chasing but from day one his work was dreadful. We ran him in a novice chase at Exeter and he was well-beaten – I wasn’t surprised because he had been showing us nothing.
“Dai has been great. We lost Oscar Whisky and then this horse went on walkabout so it has been a long dark winter. It’s great to have him back because it has been dire. We knew a fortnight before Cheltenham that he was starting to get there, but we’ve just had to sit and wait for it to happen. I knew it was probably too soon there but we had to get the run into him.
“We had the earplugs in today and I didn’t bring him into the paddock until late because he boiled over last year.”
De Boinville said: “He’s just come into himself in the past couple of weeks. He’s progressed so much since Cheltenham and he needed to.
“He jumped and travelled all the way. I was never particularly worried. I knew I had to be on the heels of Cole Harden because he stays forever. Whisper lengthened really well and loves it here.
“My lower lip was dropping a bit recently because I’d not had the best couple of weeks but this has really put me on a high. This horse and me go a good way back. He gave me my first Cheltenham success and I am very grateful to him.”
Afterwards, Walters ruled out a return to fences saying: “He’s going hurdling for the rest of his life. We’ve got plenty of other horses for chasing.”
William Hill cut the winner from 20-1 to 10-1 for next year’s World Hurdle, with race sponsors Ladbrokes also 10-1 and Boylesports a standout 25-1. Cole Harden is out from 8-1 to 12-1 to retain his crown with Hills while he is unchanged at 10-1 with Ladbrokes.
Rory Jiwani 11/04/15
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