Oscar Whisky pictured beating Thousand Stars in the Aintree Hurdle earlier this year
©Healy Racing Photos
Odds-on favourite Oscar Whisky ran out an impressive winner of the Coral Hurdle at Ascot to atone for last year's fall.
Nicky Henderson's hurdler had moved alongside Overturn when coming to grief at the last 12 months ago but there were no such worries for the Seven Barrows handler this time around.
The seven year old, whose only other defeats in a 16 race career have come at the Cheltenham Festival, set out to make every yard in the four runner race.
Raya Star made smooth progress onto his heels on the turn for home but Barry Geraghty let out an inch of rein and Oscar Whisky immediately left his rivals trailing in his wake.
Owner Dai Walters has suggested that his charge could bypass Cheltenham this year in favour of attempting to record an historic third successive win in the Aintree Hurdle while the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las is also likely to be on the agenda.
"He loved the ground, and that was a very smart performance," said Henderson.
"We thought we would go to Cheltenham next month, then Ffos Las, possibly Fontwell, miss Cheltenham and go to Aintree but if it came up soft, you'd have to run him in the Champion Hurdle."