Liverpool Hurdle Thursday 7th April 2011 

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Big Buck's on Easy Street in Liverpool Hurdle

1 Big Buck's 4/6 Fav
2 Grands Crus 3/1
3 Won In The Dark 66/1
11 ran Distances: 5l, 7l, 12l
TIME 6m 10.20s (slow by 14.20s)

Big Buck's emphatically confirmed his position as king of the staying hurdlers with a quicksilver display in the BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle - he remains unbeaten over hurdles in Britain, and has taken his score to 12 straight wins. It was his third successive victory in the £100,000 Grade One Aintree race.

Big Buck's

Big Buck's

He easily brushed aside the second-best stayer, Grands Crus, beating him more easily than he had in Cheltenham's Ladbrokes World Hurdle last month and the winning margin could have been a lot further as Big Buck’s cruised beside Grand Crus for two hurdles before being allowed to stride clear on the runn-in. The sponsors of Cheltenham race cut Big Buck's from evens to 4/5 for a repeat win next year.

Trainer Paul Nicholls, mindful that his horse is slightly eccentric, said he would not be sent to Punchestown or Auteuil, but would now be given a holiday.

He said: "He doesn’t travel particularly well and we would have to fly him to those venues, because he's just too quirky to go overnight.

“At 4am this morning he was flying around his stable because he knew the box was getting ready to bring him up to Aintree.

"He'll go for the same four races next year [two staying hurdles at Newbury, then Cheltenham followed by Aintree]. He'll never run on the Flat and I doubt he'll ever run over fences again.

“There's no need to - it's great for racing that there is a horse this good, and since no horse has ever won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle four times that will be the goal.

“He was awesome today, probably as good as ever - it was probably his best performance. Dan (Skelton, assistant) just said to me that he's the best horse we've ever had at Ditcheat and I'd have to agree.

“On that form today, it's going to be a long while before he gets beat.”

Nicholls added: “You can ride the horse anywhere in a race - he's so relaxed now and so professional you could make the running on him. Ruby [Walsh] said the horse felt as well today as he has ever done.

“There was a minor issue earlier in the week when he didn't eat up, but the blood test we did was spot on and he didn't miss any work. It was the sort of thing we deal with when training horses. The girl who rides him was happy with him.”

Ruby Walsh added: “Big Buck’s is a wonderful horse - he has won at Aintree for the last four years on the trot (he won the Mildmay Novices’ Chase in 2008) and he is just incredible.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Big Buck's
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 7lbs
4 - 6
Grands Crus
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 7lbs
3 - 1
5 lengths
Won In The Dark
Miss S J Harty
A E Lynch
11st 7lbs
66 - 1
7 lengths
Carlito Brigante
G Elliott
D N Russell
11st 7lbs
10 - 1
12 lengths
Knockara Beau
G A Charlton
Jan Faltejsek
11st 7lbs
33 - 1
12 lengths
Khyber Kim
N A Twiston-Davies
P J Brennan
11st 7lbs
16 - 1
5 lengths
H D Daly
R Johnson
11st 7lbs
80 - 1
28 lengths
P Bowen
T J O'Brien
11st 7lbs
200 - 1
19 lengths
Sentry Duty
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 7lbs
25 - 1
35 lengths
P F Nicholls
D Jacob
11st 7lbs
100 - 1
16 lengths
Pulled Up
A King
A P McCoy
11st 7lbs
20 - 1



Owner Andy Stewart has no doubt that Big Buck’s produced his best performance yet when scoring another facile success in the Grade One BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle, which the 4/6 favourite was winning for the third year running.

Stewart, describing Big Buck’s as “a machine”, added: “He laughed at them and he is not only the best horse that I have owned but is certainly one of the best staying hurdlers that I have ever seen.

“Ruby(Walsh) felt that he gave Big Buck’s a better ride today than he had done at Cheltenham and told me that the horse was so keen to go on that he was finding it difficult to keep him hard on the bridle.”

Big Buck’s had also completed a hat-trick of victories in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, and Stewart confirmed that it will be the same programme next year.

He continued:”This is very much a team effort, from Rose and Donna who look after him and ride him regularly at Ditcheat, through to Dan Skelton, Clifford Baker and, of course, Paul (Nicholls) himself, not forgetting Ruby who loves Big Buck’s to bits.”

Asked whether Big Buck’s, who has won 12 races on the spin since he fell in the Hennessy Cognac Gold at Newbury in November, 2008, would ever return to fences, Stewart said:”I very much doubt it, but you never say never at this game. However a fourth World Hurdle at Cheltenham will be the first priority next year and then we’ll come back here and try and win this race for the fourth consecutive season.”

Stewart is represented by Ornais in the John Smith’s Grand National, and, while the owner does not expect to be standing in the same winner’s enclosure at around 4.30pm on Saturday, he stressed that “there are plenty worse outsiders.”

Grands Crus
© Racehorse Photos

Grands Crus

He added:”Ornais is a 100-1 shot and that is probably about right. But he has been a good horse in his time and was once rated 158, so it would not be a complete surprise if he did a Mon Mome!”



Trainer David Pipe was magnaminous in defeat after Grands Crus finished five lengths adrift of the easy winner Big Buck’s saying: We were beaten by a the best horse in training, the winner was mazing so we can’t complain.

“It was true-run race but it didn’t really matter how it was run - Big Buck’s would have won whatever.”

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