Big Buck’s has World at his feet

BIG BUCK'S can continue Ruby Walsh's terrific week by winning the Ladbrokes' World Hurdle at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Paul Nicholls' eight-year-old is the best stayer around at the moment and it will require a career-best performance from one of his rivals to dethrone him.

The selection has taken this race for the last two years, is unbeaten in ten contests and has scored four times at the track.

You can even argue he is a better horse now than at any stage of his impressive career. Big Buck's used to hit a flat spot, but there has been precious little evidence of that happening of late.

He is best when fresh and well according to Paul Nicholls and has been rested since coasting to a six lengths defeat of Lough Derg at Newbury in December.

Grands Crus has come from literally nowhere to emerge as the biggest danger and is rated only 5lbs below Big Buck's by the handicapper. He was quite brilliant at Cheltenham in late January when winning a Grade 2 by ten lengths, but this is clearly his toughest task to date.

Fiveforthree and Mourad are capable of running decent races for Willie Mullins, but we have to stick with Big Buck's until beaten.

The Walsh-Nicholls combination can also land the Ryanair Chase with Poquelin, who arrives on the back of giving Great Endeavour 16lbs and a length beating at Cheltenham in December.

He has clearly been laid out especially for this, will relish the drying ground and is four times a winner here.

Philip Hobbs rerouted Captain Chris from today's Jewson to Tuesday's Arkle and it was an inspired decision, with the seven-year-old bounding home in front.

Hobbs might still have the answer to the Jewson with Wishfull Thinking, however, a really useful sort who jumped for fun when beating Calgary Bay here in January.

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