There’s no doubt that the John Smith’s Grand National 2012 on the final day of the three-day showcase meeting at Aintree is the undoubted main attraction of the festival fixture, but the confirmed presence of the superstar that is Big Buck’s on the Thursday of the meeting looks sure to encourage even more people to drop in at the Merseyside track as he bids to extend his winning sequence to a record breaking 17, writes Elliot Slater.
The outstanding long-distance hurdler of modern times, (possibly of all-time), landed his fourth successive Ladbrokes World Hurdle in typically dramatic fashion at the Cheltenham Festival last month, once again digging deep when danger threatened as the gallant Irish mare Voler La Vedette appeared set to draw alongside after the final flight. Once Ruby Walsh’s mount saw the danger though he quickened again, like the truly high-class performer he is, and eventually repelled the challenge to remain unbeaten in all starts since November 2008.
Big Buck’s will bid for the Grade 1 BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle on the first day of the meeting as he bids to win at the fixture for the fifth season in succession, the last three years having all come in the race he hopes will see him past Sir Ken’s record set in the 1950’s which he equalled when landing victory number 16 at Cheltenham. In 2009 the son of Cadodual saw off the gallant Henry Daly-trained Mighty Man, in 2010 he easily defeated Souffleur, and last year it was the turn of David Pipe’s smart Grand Crus to once again gain only a rear view of the Andy Stewart-owned star turn.
Nicholls reports Big Buck’s to have taken the World Hurdle very much in his stride and to have returned to his normal stable routine only a couple of days after the tough race, showing no signs at all of the battle he had been involved in – making him amongst the favourites of the Betfair Grand National Runners.