15:00 Cheltenham Sat 16 November 2019
- Spinal Injuries Association Big Buck's Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (Class 1)
- 2m 7f 208y,
- 10 Runners
- Surface: Turf
Needs no introduction around here having won over C&D at the last meeting picking up where he left off after a fine effort in the Pertemps Final. Up a further 5lb in the handicap he may be getting near his ceiling but is a hard hombre to write off.
Smart staying chaser who took advantage of the opportunity given to him by the handicapper to land a Veterans' Chase recently. First run over hurdles since 2015 (fair mark); should enjoy conditions but this demands more; failed to go on last season.
Capable of some smart form in staying hurdles; can be a law unto himself at times, took advantage of similar conditions to score on his debut last year. Rather harshly treated for that 6L win; handicapper starting to relent, stable starting to bloom.
Has some fair form in handicap chases but hasn't been seen for a while now and this will be his first attempt over hurdles since 2015. Not an easy sort to assess the handicapper has given him a chance if he were ready to go; tough ask in conditions.
Already been notching up the wins in easier novice company and on better ground but faces a very different test here. Combination of 3m/heavy ground appeared to stretch him last time after four months off; now steps into handicaps (first-time).
Offered little on his return from a 19 month absence when well behind in a 2m5f handicap hurdle at the last meeting looking rather laboured. That run may well have been needed but he would ideally have shown more to be considered here.
Useful in novice hurdles in 2018 (beat EBF Final winner Sam's Gunner); made a decent comeback from 22 months off at Aintree. No surprise to see him shape better for that run (given a considerate ride); mark looks fine, has to prove himself at 3m.
Never quite built on his Ludlow novice hurdle win but maintained the look of one who did have more to offer. Nearly lived up to that point when second on his return at Aintree (may not have given maximum effort); this looks a little tougher for him.
Fast improving gelding who looks on a roll of late getting the better of another progressive type when progressing again last time. Suited by a strong pace this test is likely to suit although they will be the most testing conditions he's faced.
Holding things together really well over fences of late completing a hat-trick at Hereford last time (had plenty on his side). Now has to prove he can respond to a higher mark from out of the weights without his regular partner back over hurdles.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Ian WilliamsJ: T J O'Brien|
Tobefair (7/2), Smackwater Jack (4/1), The Butcher Said (5/1), Eva's Oskar (7/1), Eminent Poet (7/1), Vieux Lion Rouge (7/1), Hear No Evil (8/1), Anteros (9/1), As De Mee (20/1), Golan Fortune (33/1)
- Eva's Oskar
- Eminent Poet
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