Oscar Time clocks in for Bobbyjo
Oscar Time (right) finishing second in the Grand National
(Healy Racing Photos)
Connections of the Martin Lynch-trained gelding have pencilled in the At The Races Bobbjyo Chase at Fairyhouse on February 23 as the prep target ahead of another tilt at the Aintree spectacular on April 6.
Oscar Time finished third to The Midnight Club in that Grade Two heat over three miles and a furlong before taking second spot in the National two years ago.
Injury prevented him from going to Merseyside last season and his build-up to the great race this time suffered a slight blip when Oscar Time unseated owner Robert Waley-Cohen's son, Sam, in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles on Thursday.
"He is absolutely fine. Unfortunately Joncol just flicked a bit of birch into his face as he took off, so he decided he'd put in an extra stride before the fence and there wasn't enough time," said the owner.
"Then he got banged into by Paul Carberry's horse (Foildubh) behind. It wasn't one of our happiest days, but he lives to fight another day.
"The Grand National is definitely the plan and we hoped that would be a nice confidence-building run, but it didn't quite work out that way.
"We are planning to go to the Bobbyjo Chase. That race has become the established Irish trial for the Grand National.
"Everyone seems to use it for that purpose and that was the race he ran in before the National last time.
"It's perfect timing, the weights are out and people feel that whatever the weights are they have to live with them.
"If they run well there, or badly, it doesn't have any impact, so that's where we go."
Long Run is likely to wear cheekpieces when he bids to regain his crown in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.