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Superb Buck's still World champion
Big Buck's made Ladbrokes World Hurdle history with a thrilling fourth successive victory in the stayers' championship at Cheltenham.
The Andy Stewart-owned nine-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh, had to work hard to ward off Voler La Vedette to take his winning streak over hurdles to 16, but was in full command at the end.
The 5-6 favourite set sail for home from the top of the hill and as the opposition dropped away one by one it was left to the Irish mare to throw down the most significant challenge, but Big Buck's battled on tremendously to win by a length and three-quarters. Smad Place was another seven lengths away in third.
Walsh said: "He's an amazing horse. We went a good gallop and sprinted off the bend when he got to the running rail. The way Paul's horses had been running they were starting to doubt, but boy this lad is good.
"I rode him much handier than last year - they were all speed horses, Thousand Stars, Oscar Whisky, So Young, but the only one that stayed was this lad. He's just a great horse and thank goodness I ride him."
Nicholls added: "I was getting a bit worried as we'd been totally out of form and out of luck since Rock On Ruby the other day, but this lad is all class.
"We needed to ride him like that today as we've thought for a long time that to get the best out of him we need to make it a test. He had to fight today, but he just keeps galloping, he's wonderful. He's an awesome horse, the tactics were executed to perfection and it was a great ride from Ruby.
"When he was pricking his ears going to the last I knew we were in business as he keeps galloping. We had to do things differently today, we couldn't sit and let it turn into a sprint. He's just a fantastic horse. Ruby needed that, I needed that and so did the team. It's brilliant.
"He's been to Aintree the last few years and I would think he'll go. The only question is it is now a gap of a month rather than three weeks, so the main thing is to see how he is."
Alan King said of Smad Place: "He's run very well and I hoped he would put in a good performance. It was another marvellous performance by the winner. It's a good result for racing and it's nice to be a little part of it. Our lad is a fresh horse so he'll probably go to Aintree and we'll take him on again. He'll jump a fence in the autumn."