sport

Buck's cashes in again

Big Buck's took his winning run to 18 with an effortless victory in the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was hardly out of a hack canter as he took this race for the fourth successive year.

Big Buck's and his stablemate Five Dream made the running, with the two other runners, Fox Appeal and Reve De Sivola, just a few lengths adrift.

The order remained unchanged until after the third-last, where Five Dream began to struggle.

Fox Appeal tried to make ground on the stands rail but Walsh was unmoved as he kept a tight hold of the 1-12 shot.

Reve De Sivola ran on to take second place without ever threatening to trouble Andy Stewart's unstoppable stayer.

Walsh said: "He's a wonderful horse, he's bombproof. As soon as he got on the track he came alive today and travelled beautifully.

"From the time we quickened up from the cross fence he was just coasting.

"He's a bit of an oddball, but I suppose all geniuses are the same."

Nicholls said: "From what I've seen at home, he's as good as he's ever been, and as he is only nine he is relatively young compared with horses like Kauto Star.

"He is very professional and that will put him right for the Grade One at Ascot in three weeks' time (Long Walk Hurdle).

"I know because he's a hurdler he's not the sexiest horse, but he can't do anything more than beat the horses he runs against.

"He's doing what he's best at, and just like Frankel on the Flat, we are running him in the right races.

"It will take a very special horse to beat him, as he is such a professional."