Big Buck's has World at his feet for another year

 

It is going to happen some day. And only when it does, perhaps, will everyone truly appreciate what has gone before.

In compiling 15 consecutive wins over hurdles, Big Buck's has proved a miracle of soundness and consistency. The trainers of Sea The Stars and Istabraq and Frankel himself would tell you that all champions build their glamour upon these same, yeoman foundations. As a staying hurdler, however, Big Buck's so depends upon them that his status may only be finally, formally sealed by the records that beckon him today.

Big Buck's is odds-on to become the first horse to win the divisional championship, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, three years running. In doing so, he would match Sir Ken's record of consecutive wins over hurdles, which has stood since 1953.

Sir Ken's sequence ultimately foundered at odds of 1-7, and sooner or later Big Buck's will presumably be undone by the sort of hazards he has hitherto contrived to suppress from consideration. Simply to have eluded illness or lameness tells of an extraordinary constitution; and, so clumsy over fences, he has jumped electrically since his return to timber. Whatever happens, Big Buck's (3.20) has taught punters that the last thing likely to derail him is a better horse.

That may change, if ever connections grasp the nettle and set him a challenge that might explore the extent of his latent resources – perhaps by dropping him to two and a half miles at Aintree, where he would meet Champion Hurdle types halfway. At this trip, however, he has reliably seen off all-comers. Since winning this for the first time, at 6-1, he has started odds-on for every start and duly beaten such impudent challengers such as Time For Rupert and Grands Crus.

This time round, their unhappy fate is likely to be shared by Oscar Whisky, who was quick enough to finish third in the Champion Hurdle last year and has since stretched his speed comfortably to the intermediate distance. If still there approaching the last, Oscar Whisky may force Big Buck's into a proper shift. But one of the secrets of the favourite's longevity is an indolent style that has never disclosed his full capacity, and Oscar Whisky may well find the fuel gauge entering the red on the hill.

Those intimidated by the odds about the favourite are recommended an each-way interest in So Young, who is still on the upgrade and might well have beaten First Lieutenant and Rock On Ruby here last season but for a blunder at the last. He has since been given experience in shallower waters, and shapes as a more obvious candidate than Oscar Whisky to improve for the distance. He looks pretty good value at 20-1.

There could hardly be a greater contrast in the other championship race on the card, the Ryanair Chase field seeming divided by ounces rather than pounds on the ratings. The simplest solution would be to stick with Albertas Run, winner of the last two runnings as well as the RSA Chase in his younger days. His relish for the course and conditions will clearly serve him well again, but this looks a hotter race than usual and preference is for a set of younger legs in Noble Prince (2.40). His success at last year's Festival confirmed that the Irish raider needs decent ground, but he has none the less shaped very well this winter, variously over shorter distances or in the mud.

The race he won last year, the Jewson Novices' Chase, also brings together a couple of past Festival winners. Sir Des Champs just keeps on rolling, but Peddlers Cross (1.30) introduces the class of a Champion Hurdle runner-up to proceedings. Donald McCain wisely avoided Sprinter Sacre here on Tuesday, when both the big guns he did fire – Overturn and Cinders And Ashes – ran out of their skins. This horse has evidently given him one or two problems but had previously taken slickly to fences and will be extremely hard to beat if at his best.

The rest of the card comprises the usual minefield handicaps. Buena Vista is back for yet another Festival as he bids for a hat-trick in the Pertemps Final, but Russian War (2.05, nap) has gone well fresh in the past and his absence since the autumn has a decidedly calculated look. Salut Flo bids to land a gamble in the Byrne Group Plate, but there remains a slight doubt about his stamina and there may be better value about last year's winner, Holmwood Legend, or Charingworth (4.0) who has hit it off with his talented claimer. The Kim Muir-Fulke Walwyn pitches an improving young chaser in Up The Beat against one with a purposeful look in Sunnyhillboy (4.40, next best).

World Hurdle: Experts' verdict

Chris McGrath (Racing Correspondent) 1 Big Buck's 2 So Young 3 Oscar Whisky

James Lawton (Chief Sports Writer) 1 Big Buck's 2 Oscar Whisky 3 Mourad

James Corrigan (sports writer)1 Oscar Whisky 2 Big Buck's 3 So Young

Sue Montgomery (racing writer) 1 Big Buck's 2 Thousand Stars 3 Oscar Whisky

Hyperion (tipster) 1 Big Buck's 2 Oscar Whisky 3 Voler La Vedette

John Cobb (Associate Editor, Racing Post ) 1 Oscar Whisky 2 Big Buck's 3 Dynaste

What's in a name

Ashkazar (Pertemps Final Hurdle)

In common with many Aga Khan-bred horses bears an Islamic place-name, in this case a town in the Kerman province of Iran.

Forpadydeplasterer (Ryanair Chase)

Paddy Reilly, a property developer and sometime plasterer, was one of those who once bailed out Ireland's cash-strapped Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. So was Charlie Chawke, the head of the ownership syndicate.

Sue Montgomery

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

Ashdown Group: Assistant Management Accountant - Part Qualified CIMA / ACCA

£30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are recruitment for an Assistan...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive - OTE £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Analyst

£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be a part of ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea