The owner of legendary jumper Big Buck’s, Andy Stewart, has said that the horse will not run until next year’s Cheltenham Festival as he looks to go for his fifth title in the World Hurdle.
The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding has won the last four World Hurdles and became unbeatable in the race, but injury has ruled him out of this year’s festival, which has blown the betting for the race wide open.
Stewart is clearly concerned by the injury that Big Buck’s has suffered and all the attention is now on 2014 and how the ten-year-old can win the race for an incredible fifth time.
The owner said they could head into other races, but connections of Big Buck’s decided to go straight to the Festival next year.
“We’re not going to come back at Newbury (in November), we’re going to go straight to the World Hurdle next year and if he doesn’t like it, or doesn’t get there, he’ll be retired,” Stewart told Racing UK.” He said.
Stewart added: “He could run at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting or we could go for the Long Walk or we could run in the Cleeve Hurdle, but we’re not going to do that.
“Paul and I have decided today, having spoken to Ruby (Walsh), we’re going to go straight for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2014.”
In terms of what this has done for the betting for this encounter, it has, as mentioned, blown it wide open. At the moment, there are three horses at 4/1 in the latest Cheltenham Odds to win this encounter.
Reve De Sivola, Oscar Wells and the impressive mare Quevega all still hold an entry and the bookmakers can’t separate them at this stage.
You then have six contenders between 9/1 and 14/1, so picking a winner in this World Hurdle is going to be extremely difficult.
Big Buck’s injury is a shame, but it means this race is a completely different encounter this year and instead of people coming to see Nicholls’ charge claim another comfortable victory, they will see a closely-fought and enthralling race at Cheltenham next week.