Walsh backs Buck’s ride

Ruby Walsh has admitted he would not have ridden Big Buck’s any differently in last Saturday’s Cleeve Hurdle.

Walsh backs Buck’s ride

Sam Twiston-Davies was aboard Paul Nicholls’ star stayer for the first time at Cheltenham and the jockey came in for criticism in some quarters after taking up the running a mile from home.

However, Walsh, who was unbeaten over hurdles on the 11-year-old, wrote in his paddypower.com blog that he would have adopted similar tactics.

“Things didn’t go according to script for Big Buck’s comeback but to my eyes he got beaten because of race rustiness. He hadn’t run in 14 months and if you stopped the race a few strides after the last you’d think he was all over the winner. He doesn’t appear to have lost any of his old sparkle and looked like he was going to pull away up the hill,” said Walsh.

“I know that Knockara Beau (66-1) winning does dent the form but this trial has thrown up more questions than answers.

“Sam Twiston-Davies may have wanted to ride Big Buck’s differently in hindsight. But when you get beat you always do.

“I don’t think I would have ridden him any differently. He was fit, he never stopped before and he’ll improve for the run. Paul Nicholls has stated he’s still the one to beat and he knows him best.

“Boston Bob was a little disappointing (finished last) but I haven’t spoken to Barry (Geraghty) or Willie (Mullins) yet to see where he might go next.”

Meanwhile Aintree’s Topham Chase could be on the agenda for He’llberemembered following his victory at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Trainer Paul Fahey first plans to give the 11-year-old a try over a Grand National-type fence to see if he takes to them.

The Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham is another race Fahey has in mind for He’llberemembered after his game win over Daring Article.

“He came out of it perfect – no bother at all,” said the County Kildare trainer.

“I might make an entry for the Boyne Hurdle (Navan, February 16) but that might come up too soon for him. We’ll see how he is. If I think it’s a bit soon for him we’ll leave it.

“I’ll probably also make an entry for him in one of the handicaps at Cheltenham, the Byrne Handicap over two and a half miles, and then there’s the Aintree option.

“A race I’d really like to run him in if we can get a bit of schooling into him over the Aintree fences is the Topham.

“It’s a left-handed track, a very level track. I know the fences are different, but they all have to take them on and I wouldn’t mind having a go at that – it would be interesting.

“There is an Aintree fence on the Curragh and I’d suppose we’d pop that with him. We’d have to see how he’d take to it. If I thought he was taking to them well that’d be the plan.”

Special Tiara may try to give Henry de Bromhead a third successive victory in the Boylesports Free WiFi Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.

Sizing Europe has landed this Grade Two contest over two miles for his County Waterford trainer in the last two years and Special Tiara is his representative among the eight entries.

The seven-year-old took the Grade One Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last April and was third to Kid Cassidy at Cheltenham in November on his most recent start.

Willie Mullins has his usual strong hand with Arvika Ligeonniere and Twinlight, while Mouse Morris also has two possibles in Baily Green and Rathlin.

Bog Warrior, Toner D’Oudairies and sole British entry Desert Cry, from Donald McCain’s Cheshire stable, complete the list.

Un De Sceaux was a surprise star name amongst nine entries for the Betfred “Double Delight” Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

The six-year-old has earned quotes of 10-1 and 12-1 for the Stan James Champion Hurdle even though his trainer Willie Mullins has a powerful entry headed by titleholder Hurricane Fly.

Un De Sceaux has won all his four starts over hurdles and would be taking a step up in class in this Listed contest as one of his potential rivals is Melodic Rendezvous, around a 25-1 shot for the Champion.

Jeremy Scott’s stable star got his season back on track after a below-par run in the Fighting Fifth at Cheltenham when winning the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock earlier this month.

Nicky Henderson has put in Whisper, who has an alternative entry on Saturday in the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.

The list, after the race had been re-opened until today as insufficient entries were initially received, is filled by First Avenue, Act Of Kalanisi, Clonusker, Fergall, House Party and Sonoran Sands.

Un De Sceaux’s jockey Ruby Walsh is unsure of running plans at this stage, but said: “I’m not sure whether he runs or not but I haven’t got great rides at Fairyhouse so I hope he does.

“He’s a very exciting horse – he’s four from four – (he was) very good at Punchestown last season in a maiden hurdle and then again at the (Punchestown) Festival.

“(This season) he’s bolted in at Thurles and bolted in at Navan.

“He’s just able to go a very strong gallop and sustain it through the middle of the race to the end of the race without having a breather and can sustain a seriously strong gallop.”

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