By Simon Jackson
Sam Twiston-Davies has admitted that he “can’t wait” to ride Big Buck’s for the first time in a race when he contests the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The jockey was earlier this month confirmed as the rider of the four time World Hurdle winner who returns to action for the first time since he was sidelined after injuring a tendon in December 2012.
The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding has been partnered for the bulk of his career by former stable jockey Ruby Walsh, who won the Cleeve Hurdle on him in 2009 and 2012, enroute to Big Buck’s extending his unbeaten run to 18 when last seen 13 months ago.
The 11-year-old had earlier broken the record for consecutive victories over obstacles when securing his 17th straight win in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in April 2012 and looks set to go off at odds of around 4-5 at Cheltenham (3.35pm) on Saturday.
“I can’t wait until Saturday,” Twiston-Davies said ahead of the Grade 2 three mile contest that offers total prizemoney of £60,000 and has attracted a classy field of six runners that includes Reve De Sivola and At Fishers Cross.
“If you just go and do what you normally do, then hopefully things will go right. Big Buck’s is a very, very exciting horse and I am very lucky guy,” said Twiston-Davies who also confirmed that he had schooled Big Buck’s last week.
“After sitting on him the other day, I couldn’t be happier. He just finds everything very easy. I did three kind of routine canters on him last Friday and then schooled him.
“Everything for him is very, very easy. It is all in his stride – he is never out of breath or doing anything that is too strenuous. He just has that engine – he is a top horse.
“I am looking forward to it. It is a nice position to be in because you are riding the best horse in the race. Do things right and hopefully it will work out.”
Big Buck’s continues to head the betting for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival where he is best priced at 2-1 with Paddy Power.