Bookies at at odds over Buck's

  • Last Updated: January 26 2014, 10:37 GMT

Big Buck's was a beaten favourite on his return to action to prompt a mixed response in the World Hurdle betting.

Big Buck's is as big as 3/1 for the World Hurdle
Big Buck's is as big as 3/1 for the World Hurdle

Paul Nicholls' star looked set to win the Cleeve Hurdle when leading over the last, only to tire on the run in and allow both Knockara Beau and At Fishers Cross past.

Sponsors Ladbrokes cut hum to 5/4 from 7/4 and spokesman David Williams said: "We don't share the view that his defeat in the Cleeve has diminished his World Hurdle credentials.

"We were keen to take him on this weekend with our advertised 6/4 but expect him to return in March fully match-fit and more than ready to reclaim his crown."

However, both Paddy Power and Stan James eased the four-time World Hurdle winner to 3/1 - a price which was taken on Saturday night. Stan James spokesman Rory Jiwani said: "It's clear Big Buck's isn't the force of old and while there may be some positives for his army of supporters, the fact is he's been beaten by a 145-rated hurdler.

"We pushed him out from 2/1 to 3/1 joint-favourite with Annie Power who cruised home at Doncaster. We've had plenty of interest in the four-time World Hurdle winner and that 3/1 may not last long, but this looks a wide-open renewal with More Of That cut to 7/2 from 6/1."

Annie Power's bloodless success at Doncaster left her trading as Paddy Power's outright 5/2 favourite for the World Hurdle, although they too had to cut Big Buck's to the same price after their 3/1 was also taken. Boylesports make her a standout 10/1 chance for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

Further confusion came from the performance of At Fishers Cross in the Cleeve, as he edged past Big Buck's on the run-in and chased home shock winner Knockara Beau.

All firms cut the Rebecca Curtis-trained horse following his best run of the season, but the sponsors and Sky Bet make him a 7/1 chance whereas Betfred and Paddy Power are among those going 5/1. The aforementioned More Of That was also eased by some and cut by others, with 7/1 the general price.

Le Rocher was a clear-cut winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham and his odds have been subsequently slashed for the main event in March.

The Nick Williams-trained juvenile scooted clear after the last hurdle to score by 10 lengths from Kentucky Hyden and is now as short as 7/1 with BetVictor.

Ladbrokes were a little less impressed and quote standout 12/1 at this stage, leaving Ivan Grozny as their 9/1 favourite.

"Le Rocher delivered a very eye-catching performance and is now a leading contender," said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

Red Sherlock maintained his perfect record at Cheltenham with a game defeat of Rathvinden and the former has been cut from 14/1 into 8/1 by sportingbet for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Boylesports are currently the biggest price on offer and make him a 12/1 chance from 16s.

Sponsors Betfred now make The Giant Bolster 25/1 (from 66s) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup following his victory in the Argento Chase.

Paddy Power and Hills go 33/1 for chasing's Blue Riband following his defeat of 6/4 favourite Rocky Creek by seven lengths.

The latter is 20/1 from 25s for the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree in April while gutsy Sky Bet Chase winner The Rainbow Hunter is 33s with the latter-named firm.

Valdez kept on well for Robert Thornton to win the Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster and he is 12/1 from 16s at Betfred for the Racing Post Arkle at the Festival.

Sky Bet have left the winner unchanged at 16s with Felix Yonger the general 7/1 market leader.

Wishfull Thinking defied top weight to beat favourite Double Ross in the handicap chase over 2m5f back at Cheltenham.

This was a definite return to form for Philip Hobbs' 11-year-old and he is 20/1 from 25/1 at Stan James for the BetVictor Champion Chase and 16/1 from 33/1 for the Ryanair.

  • Updated at 1040 GMT on 26/01/2014.