Cheltenham on Saturday saw the highly anticipated return of Big Buck's. After 420 days sidelined with a tendon injury, the superstar hurdler gave Sam Twiston-davies a feel of things to come. Although being beaten by At Fishers Cross & Knockara Beau, trainer Paul Nicholls was happy with the run & no doubt needed it before the World Hurdle test. "He jumped & travelled with all his old zest & just got tired from the back of the last. The ground was very testing & I toyed with taking him out, but I was desperate to get a race into him before the World Hurdle". Big buck's goes joint favourite with Annie Power (paddy power). The Willie Mullin's trained mare extended her unbeaten run to 10 from 10 on Saturday at Doncaster . A slight fault over the last wasn't enough to give her opponents any edge as Ruby rode clear at 1/6 on. Main threat Cockney Sparrow had fallen two from home, giving Annie Power a pressure-less finish. I personally think she will be there to challenge Big Buck's, should Mullins send her to the world hurdle. what a contest its panning out to be. Doncaster also held the 3 mile, Sky Bet chase. Nicholls' Unioniste headed the betting, but as is often the case in big fields such as this one, it can be a bit of a lottery. Nick Scholfield battled round & made all on The Rainbow Hunter at 25/1, to claim the prize money. Hopefully some of you managed to take advantage of the big priced winner, but it was perhaps one for the bookies. Last of the 9 who finished was Grand National winner, Auroras Encore.
Gigginstown number one, Bryan Cooper rode Trifolium to victory on Sunday at Leopardstown. Opting for the 7/1 shot over the ride on Mozoltov, Cooper saw off Defy Logic & Felix Younger, reversing the outcome from the Racing Post Novice Chase in December. Hurricane Fly lined up against Jezki, Our Conor & Captain Cee Bee. A reported bruised foot seemed to have no impact for the Fly as he seen off Our Conor to claim victory. The Champion Hurdle is really shaping up to be something special. It will be a different kettle of fish altogether. Rightly so, Hurricane Fly heads the betting, but he will have to see off Our Conor again, & The New One on festival air.