Denis O’Regan is under no illusions as to the task facing Tidal Bay in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The 2008 Arkle winner reverted to timber in fine style in January when winning the Cleeve Hurdle at Prestbury Park.
Trained by Howard Johnson, who masterminded the career of great stayer Inglis Drever, Tidal Bay is one of only a handful of credible opponents to reigning champion Big Buck’s.
“It’s a tough race and it’s a tough meeting but I’m looking forward to it,” said O’Regan, who missed out through suspension in the Cleeve with Brian Hughes stepping in.
“It was a great decision by Howard and Graham (Wylie, owner), it was a super decision (to put him back over hurdles). It’s great to get such a good horse back on track.
“I know I missed him but I was delighted he won and hopefully he’s going to the Festival with a chance.
“The World Hurdle is going to be a very hard race to win but if you’re not in, you can’t win.
“He looks an amazing horse, Big Buck’s. I was really impressed with him at Newbury, he might not have looked that impressive but I thought it was a great performance on very heavy ground.
“He’s a very hard horse to beat and when he hits the hill he’s fairly flying.
“It’s great to be involved and I’m delighted to be going, hopefully he gets there in one piece,” he told At The Races.