Buck's delight for Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies has spoken of his "absolute delight" at being handed the ride on staying great Big Buck's.
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The Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old has not run since the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December 2012, having been found to be suffering from a leg injury later that month.
He pleased in a racecourse gallop at Exeter before Christmas, and the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 25 is his intended starting point before bidding for a fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle crown in March.
Owned by Andy Stewart and unbeaten in 18 starts since reverting to hurdles, Big Buck's has been ridden in all bar two of those runs by Ruby Walsh, with Tony McCoy deputising when Walsh was injured.
Walsh is no longer stable jockey to Nicholls, and is now riding full-time for Willie Mullins, with potential World Hurdle rides including Annie Power and Boston Bob.
Twiston-Davies said: "I am absolutely delighted to get the ride on a really exceptional horse like him and I'm very much looking forward to it. He is a legend of racing and he looks a pleasure to ride.
"It will take plenty of time to look at all his wins, and I will be very happy to watch every single one.
"I spoke to Paul Nicholls on Friday night and he confirmed that he and Andy had had lunch and told me what they'd talked about.
"Ruby is a class jockey who knows him well and obviously I'll talk to him about it. There will be a lot of pressure involved, but I can't wait for it and I'm going to enjoy every minute!"
Stewart had discussed options with Nicholls in Barbados and told The Sun: "We explored all sorts of possibilities but we had to make sure whoever rode Big Buck's in the Cleeve Hurdle would also be available for the World Hurdle.
"Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy will have other commitments.
"Daryl Jacob is Paul's stable jockey and our choice of Sam is no reflection on him. He will ride either Celestial Halo or Salubrious."