Big Bucks to take Long Walk on road to Cheltenham

William Hill

Tagged under: 3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle 3m (Grade1)

Paul Nicholls confirmed his intention to run his champion staying hurdler, Big Bucks, in Saturday’s BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and he has taken the precaution of leaving Celestial Halo among the 9 other horses entered for the race.

Weather permitting; the World Hurdle favourite will be bidding to win his second BGC Long Walk Hurdle with his main rivals likely to be Duc de Regniere and Oscar Dan Dan.

Nicolls said: ”If it's on, Big Buck's will be there. He's in great shape. I've only declared Celestial Halo in case something silly happens, but he won't run if Big Buck's runs.“

The race was switched to Newbury last year after snow had forced the Ascot meeting to be abandoned and Big Bucks took the race by 3¼ lengths from Karabak before going to the Festival to claim his second World Hurdle.

The Stewart family’s seven-year-old he will be making his second appearance of the season on Saturday and he could again face Duc De Regniere who he beat by 3 lengths in the six-runner race at Newbury last month.

Preparations for the festival are going well and connections will be hoping the weather doesn’t interrupt plans this year as Big Buck attempts to go one better than Baracouda and Inglis Drever and gain three consecutive World Hurdle victories.

Baracouda was denied his hat-trick when runner-up to Iris’s Gift in 2005 after victories in 2003 and 2004, three-time winner Inglis Drever missed the race through injury in 2006 and had wins in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Bookmakers have Big Bucks an odds-on favourite to make his own piece of Cheltenham history and William Hill are currently offering the best odds of 4/5 for Nicholl’s charge to win the World Hurdle on 17th March.

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