'It's in the water!' – Meet the pensioner farmer couple ready to take on best at Cheltenham Festival with just 5 horses

GOLDEN oldies Ann and Ian Hamilton are dreaming of an Oscar winner at the Festival.

The popular happygo-lucky husband and wife team run stable star Tommy's Oscar in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle. A fairytale victory for the galloping pensioners would not only raise Cheltenham's roof but blow it over Cleeve Hill.

To do so, 33-1 shot Tommy's Oscar will have to inflict a first-ever defeat on odds-on champ Honeysuckle.

Yet it will all be water under the bridge for the Hamiltons — who have just four horses in training at their Capheaton farm in Northumberland.

Incredibly those four have won 12 times this season alone, banking the Hamiltons more than £500,000 in prizemoney. Ian, 74, said: "It's all in the water!

"I don't know what it is but there must be something good in it!

"We've been on an incredible run for two old folk! I put it all down to the water here — it's lovely!

"We only bought Tommy's Oscar for a bit of fun a couple of years ago.

"Ann still rides the horses at home, not me anymore.

"I try to stop her … I'm not sure she should be riding them any more at 70!"

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"Four or five horses in the yard are more than enough for us to handle.

"The ones we have got are better horses than we used to have. We once went six years without a winner "We have a great team at home – two super girls and of course my little lady who is a brilliant trainer!

"We're farmers really, we have cattle and sheep and, to be honest, racing has been just a hobby.

"We once went six years without a winner — and on Tuesday we will be taking on the likes of Willie Mullins and Henry De Bromhead in the Champion Hurdle. It's unbelievable, really.

"If Tommy's Oscar was trained by one of those big names he wouldn't be 33-1!" The seven-yearold has improved in leaps and bounds this season. He kicked off with a couple of smart placed efforts in handicap hurdles before a ten-length demolition of a decent field at Haydock in November.

Three subsequent wins, including when sent off 4-7 favourite in the Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial back at Haydock in January convinced the Hamiltons to take their chance in the big 'un.

They are under no illusions about the task their stable star faces.

Ian said: "He hasn't beaten a Champion Hurdle horse yet.

"He has been winning very easily, but he hasn't run against one of those. You wouldn't know what might happen, though — that's what we're going for."

However, the down-to-earth Hamiltons will not be partying long into the night in the Cotswolds if their beloved Tommy's Oscar (left) wins the big one.

Ian said: "We're long past those days.

"But we might need something a bit stronger than water!"

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