The horse with the best engine in racing, Big Buck’s, can be backed at 80 on Betfair for next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Connections have often declared that he will never return to fences but given the desolation shown by uber-competitor Paul Nicholls over his yard’s performance at this year’s festival, I’m certain the temptation will have crossed his mind.
I don’t think owner Andy Stewart would take too much persuading that the horse should be given another chance at steeplechasing. The horse has matured since his last outing over fences – more than four years ago – when, had he not unseated (the first time he failed to finish in 7 ‘chasing runs), he might well have become the first 5-y-o to win The Hennessy.
Synchronised made six mistakes when winning the Gold Cup. Long Run made four errors winning his. Big Buck’s would probably need to walk through every fence to lose the race given the standard of competitor likely to turn up next March.
I’m happy to take a chance at the price that the Nicholls ambition and persuasive powers will see the big horse turning out in the Gold Cup next year. If so, the hardest part of Ruby’s job will be steering him away from the 3m hurdles start.