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Only Six Contenders Brave Enough to Tackle Big Buck's

The final declarations have been made in the 2011 Lough Derg Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot this weekend. Big Buck's, the top hurdler in the land, is easily the favourite amongst a field of six challengers and it would really make headlines if the Paul Nicholls-trained long distance specialist was to come up short in this one.


This represents the first attempt at Ascot for the venerable hurdler, who was switched over from the fences to great effect by Nicholls back in 2009. Unbeaten in thirteen contests since then, you have to admire everything the Ditcheat team has been able to put together with this powerful and quick gelding.

Bookmakers have Big Buck's trading anywhere from 2/9 to 2/7 while the biggest challenger seems to be Dynaste – hovering anywhere from 5/1 to 6/1 depending on who you're wagering with. He appears to be the only genuine contender here who might be able to upset Big Buck's because the odds then take a big jump to the next best-priced contender Restless Harry – sitting at 16/1.

Five Dream is a stablemate of Big Buck's and he's being sent out there for a run in this one as well and one might suspect that an all-Nicholls double could wind up being a very popular forecast selection for punters.

Dynaste got the season off to a smashing start when he conquered the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park about a month ago on his seasonal debut. A Grade 3 contest, he was able to dispose of a relatively deep field of staying hurdlers with Sa Suffit, Sunnyhillboy, Benny Be Good and Rial D'Estruval all coming up short on the day.

It was an impressive-looking victory on the day, coming by a full eight lengths, but one has to wonder whether this one is just too big of a step up in class. Dynaste is also unraced at Ascot but looks to have the measure of the course at this point and could be able to flourish on the ground conditions.

Look for the five-year-old David Pipe grey to offer up a stiff challenge for Big Buck's – who will likely just be too good on the day.