Big Buck’s Set For World Hurdle Return
Paul Nicholls’ star hurdler Big Buck’s goes into the World Hurdle as the ante-post favourite once again, despite suffering his first defeat since 2008 in the Cleeve Hurdle last month.
That was his first run in over a year though, as he returned following an injury which kept him out of the 2013 running the World Hurdle where he would have been bidding for his fifth straight win the 3m contest.
Big Buck’s winning sequence at the Festival began in 2009 when he won the race for the first time. He was able to score by four lengths ahead of Punchestowns.
A year later, Nicholls’ runner returned and defended his crown. Time For Rupert was his big rival according to horse racing betting sites but could not get closer than three lengths when they crossed the line.
In 2011, Grand Crus established himself as a threat to Big Buck’s run and the pair were locked in battle jumping the last hurdle. Regular jockey Ruby Walsh was able to find more though, from his mount to hold off the grey up the hill.
Following a further win in 2012, the 11-year went into the season bidding for his fifth win in the World Hurdle. He started the season at Newbury by picking up the Long Distance Hurdle. However, he ended up being out for the rest of the campaign after picking up an injury.
Annie Power has established herself as Big Buck’s latest challenger as she is unbeaten in her 10 runs so far. Three of those have been in the UK where she made her debut this season.
Willie Mullins’ mare does still have an entry in the 2m Champion Hurdle, but, with Hurricane Fly in his yard, the Irish Champion Trainer may prefer to run her in the longer of the two races.