Handicap option for Buck's
Paul Nicholls has given Big Buck's an entry in a Haydock handicap hurdle as he plots his star stayer's return to action.
The nine-year-old has made his seasonal bow in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury for the last three years, winning on each occasion, and that December 1 event remains a possible target.
However, the Ditcheat handler has also entered Big Buck's for a richly-endowed handicap contest the week before, although Nicholls underlined this is merely an option rather than his intended target.
He told his Betfair column: "I can reveal that Big Buck's has been given an entry in the Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle on Betfair Chase Day.
"It is a very valuable race, worth more than the Newbury race that is normally his reappearance, but money isn't everything and we will do what is best for the horse.
"But, at this stage, Haydock is only a tentative entry for him, so don't get carried away yet."
Nicholls has added another star to his hurdling ranks as Aaim To Prosper, who won the Cesarewitch for a second time last month when trained by Brian Meehan, has joined the Ditcheat team.
The trainer said: "He became the first horse to win two Cesarewitches last month and, at 112, must be one of the highest-rated Flat horses to have joined us from that sphere, maybe similar to Celestial Halo in ratings terms.
"The owners have Sidney Melbourne and Shooters Wood with me, and have kindly sent me him. He clearly is an exciting hurdling prospect."
Nicholls also revealed plans for some of his big-race winners last weekend.
He added: "Plans are fluid for my Charlie Hall winner Silviniaco Conti, but he is one of my Betfair Chase entries - along with Tidal Bay, Al Ferof and Cristal Bonus - and is obviously in the King George, too.
"My Down Royal winner Kauto Stone goes straight for Kempton. We will keep him fresh and well for that.
"And my other Down Royal winner Cristal Bonus may go back to Ireland for the John Durkan on December 9.
"Tidal Bay won well over hurdles at Wetherby and at the moment I am leaning towards the Hennessy for him, but we will see."