World Hurdle, Cheltenham Thursday
Big Buck’s will face 11 rivals on Thursday at short odds on with Paddy Power when he bids to become the first horse to win four World Hurdle crowns on the spin.
Paul Nicholls’s charge, who is unbeaten in his past 15 races since unseating his rider at the last fence in the 2008 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, would also draw level with Sir Ken’s record of winning 16 races at the top level in a row, which included two Champion Hurdles in 1953 and 1954.
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Despite not gaining as much attention as some of Nicholls’ other stable stars such as Kauto Star, the champion trainer has spoken about just how highly he regards this brute of a hurdler.
“He perhaps doesn’t get the credit outside the sport that he deserves,” the trainer said.
“But we’re very privileged to have a horse like him, and we know it. Every season I’ve kept thinking something will come out of the woodwork and give him a real fright, but he just keeps beating them all. What he has done already is quite remarkable; four World Hurdles and equalling that record would be phenomenal.”
Among the horses trying to dethrone the king, four of them emerge from the Willie Mullins stable. The 2010 County Hurdle winners Thousand Stars, last year’s third Mourad, Mikael D’Haguenet and So Young all have been handed an entry by Mullins.
Although the greater competition is likely to come from Nicky Henderson’s Oscar Whisky, who will be running over three miles for the first time.
Dynaste and Voler La Vedette also hold suitable claims against the favourite.
Elsewhere on Thursday, and Peddlers Cross will face 11 horses in the Jewson Novices’ Chase, which will include the likes of For Non Stop for Nick Williams and Zaynar, who has been recently switched to the David Pipe yard.