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Big Buck's Set to Score in World Hurdle


An impressive £150,000 is up for grabs to the winner of the premier hurdling event on the National Hunt circuit and, if the odds are anything to go by, this one is shaping up to be a two-horse race.

Big Buck’s is a truly impressive specimen and he deserves all the respect that he’s gotten in recent years. The talented Paul Nicholls-trained gelding has the measure of the hurdling circuit and is seeking his third World Hurdle on the bounce. Interestingly, he debuted on the chase scene and then switched to hurdles and has found a huge amount of success. In fact, Big Buck’s only real blemish is when he unseated Sam Thomas in the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase back in November of 2008.

Big Buck’s continues to hit near career-high numbers and has retained the 174 rating since shortly after last year’s festival. He is versatile and has the ability to both track the leaders and sit well off the pace. This is a contender who can dictate a race and, while I’m not much for backing short-priced favourites, he has every chance in this one and the race is his to lose.

Grands Crus is expected to be the main competition here and the David Pipe-trained six year-old is still emerging. He made a major statement when jumping from a 132 rating to a 158 after winning the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham back in January. Interestingly enough, Big Buck’s took that race shortly before his kick at the World Hurdle can proved successful.

You’ll find Grands Crus trading around 3/1 with most major bookmakers and it looks like he’ll be the bookies choice on the day as punters are expected to pile onto Big Buck’s. The issue with Grands Crus is that he hasn’t really beaten anybody of genuine significance. It is clear that he’s in cracking form and boasts loads of ability but it might be a year too early for him.

Mourad will be taking some Irish money at 10/1 as she ships in fresh off an emphatic score at Gowran Park. A fourth-place finish to Hurricane Fly at Fairyhouse in December doesn’t look as bad anymore and he was able to handle many of the best charges on the Irish circuit. He could spring a surprise here, but looks a better option in the place markets.

Fiveforthree also looks interesting and probably won’t be far off if he runs his race. Punters have him at 14/1 and he will likely go up in price. Again, this is a big ask for the win but he is competitive to get a slice of the race.

Celestial Halo looks the premier each-way selection at 33/1 and he has been progressing along nicely this season – he looks a sharp selection on the each-way or in the place markets as he has hit the board every time in five races since last October.