- Horse Racing
18 on the spin for brilliant Big Buck's
Big Buck's made it 18 wins on the spin with an effortless success in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
The race has been the superstar stayer's first port of call for the past four seasons and he had no trouble in winning the race for a fourth time.
He was faced with only three rivals, with the pretenders to his crown frightened off. Bookmakers took no chances and sent Big Buck's off at 1/12.
Those who decided to have a bet had no alarms whatsoever as Ruby Walsh had Big Buck's in the front rank from the outset. His stablemate from the Paul Nicholls yard, Five Dream attempted to lay up, but Big Buck's broke the spirit of his rivals between the final two flights.
Reve De Sivola ran on for second, but he was in a different parish to Big Buck's who sauntered home with neither horse nor jockey breaking sweat.
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."
Nicholls and Walsh struck in the preceding race, as Rolling Aces showed the benefit of a step up in trip when grinding his way to success from Merry King in the Fulke Walwyn Trophy
The Triumph Hurdle winner got the better of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner, as Countrywide Flame slammed Cinders And Ashes in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
The likes of Darlan and Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby gave the race a swerve due to the ground. It held no terrors to John Quinn's gritty Countrywide Flame and he toppled the favourite with ease.
Jason Maguire aboard Cinders And Ashes tracked Countrywide Flame up the straight, but when the tap was turned on it was Countrywide Flame who picked up the better for a wide-margin success.