• Racing/
  • Four In A Row For Big Bucks

Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m 110y

  • (4yo+, 3m 110y, Class 1, 4 runners)
  • Winner £19,932 2nd £7,480 3rd £3,745 4th £1,866 5th £938 6th £469
  • Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 17.50s
  • Off time: 14:01:45
  • Last Updated: December 1 2012, 16:31 GMT

The brilliant Big Buck's won a fourth successive Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Big Buck's: Landed the Long Distance Hurdle for a fourth year
Big Buck's: Landed the Long Distance Hurdle for a fourth year

Paul Nicholls' star staying hurdler drew one step closer to equalling the British record of 21 consecutive victories (set by Meteor in the eighteenth century) with his win in the Grade Two contest.

Sent off at the prohibitive price of 1/12 the son of Cadoudal made it 18 in a row without coming off the bridle as he outclassed his opponents.

He was kept company by stablemate Five Dream who was fractionally in front when jumping the third last but Ruby Walsh was motionless and took several long, lingering looks behind and to both sides up the straight as he and Big Buck's were never in any danger at any stage of the contest.

Reve De Sivola stayed on to finish second having been the first to come under pressure while Fox Appeal finished third having briefly attempted to try and make a race of it but the five year old failed to get close to the winner despite Dougie Costello's best efforts.

The winning distance was nine lengths and even Costello was moved to give Big Buck's a pat down the neck as the runners gathered to head back to the winner's enclosure.

Walsh said: "He's a wonderful horse, he's bombproof. As soon as he got on the track he came alive today and travelled beautifully.

"From the time we quickened up from the cross fence he was just coasting. He's a bit of an oddball, but I suppose all geniuses are the same."

Nicholls said: "He is very professional and that will put him right for the Grade One at Ascot in three weeks' time (Long Walk Hurdle).

"I think he looks better than he did at any stage last year. Ruby said he is now really professional, you can jump off and ride him any way you like. You can ride him from the front now.

"The better the race, the better he is, that's the thing. Everyone will probably keep away until Cheltenham, but we'll keep ticking away with him winning these races.

"He's a real professional now and it makes my life easier."

It is part of racing folklore now that a bad blunder by Big Buck's in the Hennessy of 2008, where he unseated Sam Thomas, led to the Andy Stewart-owned superstar reverting to the smaller obstacles, a move that has resulted in four Ladbrokes World Hurdles.

Nicholls said: "It's not his fault he probably didn't jump fences, it's just the way things work out.

"I felt Ruby needed to stay with Kauto and wasn't going to get on Big Buck's so we went hurdling (after the Hennessy).

"I know because he's a hurdler he's not the sexiest horse, but he can't do anything more than beat the horses he runs against.

"Everything slots into its own place and he's doing what he's best at. Some people say he should have new challenges, but he can do no more than what Frankel did on the Flat and run in the right races.

"He'll get beat one day, of course he will, that's the way racing is, but at the moment he's in really good shape and it will want something very special to beat him."

Sky Bet cut Big Buck's to 4/5 from even money to win a fifth World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

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