Legendary staying hurdler Big Buck’s will once again make his seasonal reappearance at Newbury as he begins his quest to land the Ladbrokes World Hurdle for a remarkable fourth consecutive season.
Since unseating Sam Thomas in the 2008 Hennessy Gold Cup, the eight-year-old has now won 12 consecutive races over hurdles, becoming the first horse in history to win Cheltenham’s staying hurdle title three times in succession.
He has also won Aintree’s Liverpool Hurdle for the last three years and while there were calls from some quarters for the powerful gelding to return to chasing, trainer Paul Nicholls feels there is no need to change a winning formula.
“Big Buck’s is back in full work with hopefully all roads leading to a potentially historic fourth Ladbrokes World Hurdle title at Cheltenham in March,” the champion trainer told his website www.paulnichollsracing.com.
“That is certainly his main aim once again this season with the idea of going back over fences now scrapped.
“In terms of the races our star staying hurdler is likely to tackle in the build-up to Cheltenham, the plan is to follow an identical route to the previous two seasons, starting with the three-mile Grade Two hurdle at Newbury on Hennessy day and then taking in the Long Walk Hurdle just after Christmas.
“All being well, it will then be off to the Festival and the World Hurdle with a run in Aintree’s Liverpool Hurdle to round off the season.”