Restless Harry May Take on Big Buck's in World Hurdle
Restless Harry was ninth behind Big Buck’s in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle and could be poised for another go in this year's renewal at The Festival on St Patrick’s Thursday, March 15.
Dickin revealed: “The Ladbrokes World Hurdle is on the radar for Restless Harry and we will make a decision whether to keep him over hurdles or return to chasing in due course.
“He will probably be entered in the Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham and he could go for the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase on the same card. If he didn’t run there, I might look at the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock instead.
“He never runs a bad race and his Wetherby run at the start of the season was astonishing. I am not quite sure what that was about so I am not sure how to recreate it – I would have thought that the run would have brought him on.
“Going chasing isn’t off the agenda with him but the season is getting on and there are such huge prizes on offer with the long-distance hurdles. He got a little bit chopped coming round the top turn in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle and I think that he has improved slightly since then.”
Big Buck’s, of course, heads the 34 entries for the £260,000 race as he bids to capture the three-mile championship contest for a record fourth consecutive time.
The Stewart Family’s phenomenal hurdler is unbeaten in 14 starts over the smaller obstacles since contesting the Hennessy Gold Cup in November, 2008, and looked as good as ever when sauntering to a comprehensive eight-length success on his latest start in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 17.
His trainer Paul Nicholls is considering letting Big Buck’s take his chance in the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle over three miles on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on January 28 in preparation for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. If the nine-year-old were to capture both races, he would equal the record for consecutive wins over jumps in Britain set by three-time Champion Hurdle winner Sir Ken, who recorded 16 straight victories in the 1950s.
Big Buck’s is generally rated a 4/7 chance for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in the Cheltenham Festival betting, with Oscar Whisky, also entered in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, as the 4/1 second favourite. The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old has yet to race over three miles but boasts some excellent form over shorter distances, including a fine third in last year’s Stan James Champion Hurdle and a facile success over an extended two and a half miles on his latest start at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
A total of 11 Irish-trained entries include another seven possible runners from the Mullins stable, headed by dual Grade One winners Thousand Starsand Quevega, Mourad, Zaidpour and Mikael d’Haguenet, plus the Colm Murphy-trained Voler La Vedette, who has won her latest three starts impressively.
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