Big Buck's extended his winning sequence to fifteen races at Cheltenham on Saturday. Six horses lined up for the 3m Cleeve Hurdle with all eyes on Big Bucks. The race was the final outing for BIG BUCK´S Before his bid for a fourth Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
The race started at a slow pace with Restless Harry and Dynaste leading the pack. Big Buck's happily settled into 4th place and tracked the leaders until two out from home. As the pace quickened race leader Dynaste looked to be going well. Big Buck's was still in 4th when Ruby Walsh gave him a wake up call, for a few seconds it looked like Big Buck's wasn't responding. A few more shoves from Ruby and he picked up the pace and started eating up the ground between him and Dynaste.
Switching before the last hurdle, Big Buck's edged in front as the leading pair reached the hill, after a few furlongs Dynaste and Jockey Tom Scudamore were trailing and Big Bucks procession to the finishing post was never challenged. Indeed, so comfortable was the win that Ruby didn't even reach for the whip in the final stages of the race.
Jockey Ruby Walsh said: “It's brilliant. He's a great horse to ride. I've always said good stayers can quicken off a strong pace. Tom Scudamore rode a canny enough race and was quickening all the time but he's just a very good horse, he's even better on better ground.”
Big Bucks trainer Paul Nicholls added: “He just switches off and then comes there travelling. Ruby said he was in front too soon at Ascot and said he was going to leave it much later today. He came there before the last, jumped it and bingo. It is a lot of pressure but he is such a brilliant horse. We could have ridden him closer two the pace but we were mindful about saving some petrol for Cheltenham.”
Dynaste ran a brave race, on a different day with a favourable wind he might do the unthinkable, beat the beast that is Big Buck's.
With the odds on Big Buck's repeating last year's victory in the World Hurdle shorter than a munchkin doing the limbo, you'd be forgiven for looking at alternative bets for value. One might be to back Dynaste in the ‘Betting Without the Favourite' market. Paddy Power offer this type of bet, obviously the odds are reduced but it's still a good option, the only other value might be in a forecast bet – 1st Big Buck's, 2nd Dynaste.
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