Aintree Grand National 2011 

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Oscar Time Comes in for Strong Grand National Support

Maybe it is down to the 'Waley-Cohen' factor following the success of the family's brilliant Long Run in last week's Cheltenham Gold Cup, but there has been significant money for Irish raider Oscar Time, the mount of Sam Waley-Cohen, ahead of his bid to land the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on April 9, writes Elliot Slater.

Trained by Martin Lynch at Stepaside, Country Dublin, Oscar Time was purchased by the Waley-Cohen's in October of last year with the specific intention of providing Sam with a mount in the 'world's greatest steeplechase', the 10-year-old having ended last term with a tremendous effort in finishing runner-up in the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last April to the smart mare Bluesea Cracker. The horse racing odds suggest he is set to deliver on that plan.

Second under Sam Waley-Cohen on his first run in the new colours in a Thurles staying hurdle in November, Oscar Time then ran well enough when sixth in a big field handicap hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, before running with plenty of credit to claim third place behind The Midnight Club in the Grade 2 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February.

The winner of last season's hugely valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown Oscar Time has a touch of class about him, and with his sporting amateur jockey riding the crest of a wave after his brilliant performance to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup last week, it appears that the public have latched on to Oscar Time as the horse that could possibly give his rider one of the most famous ever doubles in sporting history and the Grand National betting reflects this.

A 33/1 chance for Aintree prior to his good run at Fairyhouse, a recent wave of support has forced Oscar Time's odds down to 12/1 joint favourite with The Midnight Club with some firms, although some 14/1 is still available. The chances are though that those odds will soon dry up and it is not inconceivable that amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen could be sent off favourite to win the Grand National in less than three weeks time.

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