Big Buck’s reappearance moves a step closer

Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies both expressed their satisfaction as the eagerly-anticipated return to action of Big Buck’s moved a step closer after the staying great came through a schooling session in the hands of his new jockey.

Now an 11-year-old, Big Buck’s is due to reappear in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday, which has been reopened as the minimum 10 entries were not received.

With Ruby Walsh leaving his role as stable jockey to Nicholls at Ditcheat, Big Buck’s was always going to have a new partner on his return from injury and the trainer and owner Andy Stewart plumped for Twiston-Davies last week.

Twiston-Davies was Nicholls’ Somerset base to pop the four-time Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner over a few obstacles before he makes his comeback following 14 months off the track.

“It all went well, no problems at all,” said Nicholls.

“It was just a routine school, we would do it at the start of the week before any run of his life.

“He jumped well and did what we expected.

“Sam was pleased with him.”

Twiston-Davies reiterated that he views himself as being in a “very lucky position”.

He told Betfred TV: “He felt in great order, it was my first time schooling down at Paul’s, I’d been in on Friday to give him three steady canters but I jumped him today and it all went very smoothly, he jumped brilliantly.

“I took him for a canter afterwards and he felt great.

“It’s effortless for him, he finds it all very easy, going round the school, going up the gallop, it’s all just in his stride.

“He’s never under any pressure because he just has that engine. He’s an unbelievable horse and he’s very exciting, well it is for me and I’m in a very lucky position.

“Obviously, if he retains his ability, which I’m sure he does, he’s going to be very hard to beat.”

Coral reported support for Big Buck’s in its World Hurdle market, cutting him to 7-4 favourite from 9-4.

Spokesman David Stevens said: “The money for Big Buck’s suggests a winning reappearance is on the cards.”

* Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene is the headline name amongst 12 entries for Saturday’s Argento Chase at Cheltenham.

Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old rocketed 11lb in the handicap to a mark of 158 following his near three-length beating of Rocky Creek, who is set to reoppose for Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls has another string to his bow in Unioniste, although he is also engaged in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.

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