Oscar Time Ruled Out of Grand National

10.12.2014, by Jim
Oscar Time Ruled Out of Grand National&h=223&w=348&zc=1

While the Christmas season is a fairly quiet time in the United States horse racing scene there’s still plenty of action in Europe. The big news from ‘the continent’ today involves Oscar Time, winner of Saturday’s Belcher Chase at Aintree. Despite his impressive performance in victory his connections have ruled him out of next April’s Grand National. Oscar Time has twice previously raced in England’s biggest horse racing event.

The Belcher Chase is typically an important ‘prep’ race for the Grand National. The winner quickly becomes one of the Grand National Betting favorites but that won’t be the case this year. 2014 Belcher Chase winner Oscar Time is nowhere to be found on the antepost betting board. He’s trained by owner Robert Waley-Cohen and ridden by his son Sam. Waley-Cohen has some good reasons for not pointing his horse toward the Grand National–his age and his dislike of the Grand National ‘trip’ despite a reputation as an Aintree ‘specialist’: “This was the target. He’s better here than anywhere. But he doesn’t get the National trip and he will be 14 in a few weeks, so he won’t run.”

BBC Racing Correspondent Cornelius Lysaght added these thoughts about the race: “This latest win over the big fences by part-time jockey (and full-time businessman) Sam Waley-Cohen was aided by ice-cool, professional tactics in that he didn’t chase after Our Father when that one appeared to steal a march. Had he done so, Oscar Time would have ‘run out of juice’ late on.”

The race was not without tragedy–Irish shipper Balbriggan was pulled up between jumps and after the race was confirmed to have suffered a fatal leg fracture. BBC Correspondent Lysaght argues that the race is safer than ever despite Balbriggan’s death: “The Becher was marred by the death of Balbriggan, though it has to be pointed out it happened while galloping between fences. Only one horse fell (from 41 runners) in the two races over the Grand National course, another vindication of the changes.”

Oscar Time was second in the 2011 Grand National and fourth in 2013. The current Grand National betting favorites are Shutthefrontdoor, Many Clouds and Sam Winner, all at 20/1.

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