Nicholls pleased with Big Buck's
Paul Nicholls will step up the work regime of Big Buck's in a fortnight as he builds towards attempting to regain his stayers' crown at the Cheltenham Festival.
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The Andy Stewart-owned 11-year-old was denied the chance of a fifth successive victory in Ladbrokes World Hurdle through injury last season, but it is all systems go after he came through his comeback run unscathed at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Though his 18-run winning streak came to an end when he was only third to Knockara Beau in the Cleeve Hurdle, Nicholls was delighted with the effort.
And he stressed that only one day mattered, the World Hurdle back at Cheltenham on March 13.
"I'm very pleased with him. He's cantered every day this week and will every day for a fortnight and then we'll start upping his work again. We have a nice bit of time now (before Cheltenham)," the Ditcheat trainer told At The Races.
"If people felt I was going to have him at his very best on that day they were mistaken. There is only one day we want him to be at his very best for and that is in March.
"He ran really well and showed all his zest, jumped well (and) Sam (Twiston-Davies) gave him a great ride. He just got tired from the back of the last.
"When you get ground as bad as it was at Cheltenham on Saturday, ratings go out of the window. The ground can be very bad at that meeting and has no bearing on form.
"If it had been a normal year and he'd have run at Newbury (in the Long Distance Hurdle) and Ascot (for the Long Walk Hurdle) he wouldn't have run on Saturday, but I had to go somewhere."