Big Bucks

Big Bucks Horse

In combining sire Cadoudal and dam Buck’s, bay gelding Big Buck’s was born in 2003. He started racing at the age of three, competing in thirteen recognised French races before breeder Henri Poulat sold Big Buck’s to Andy Stewart, passing on training responsibilities to Paul Nicholls at Manor Farm Stables in South West England.

The record for twenty-three wins, two seconds and four thirds from a total of forty major race meetings was enough to establish Big Buck’s as one of horse racing’s best, especially with his historical four wins in The Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival. Paul Nicholls saw the 2013/14 season as being Big Buck’s last when he found defeat for the first time in over five years, leading to Big Buck’s being retired from racing.

Big Buck’s Races

Only a few short weeks after being moved to Manor Farm Stables, Big Buck’s ran his first few races under Paul Nicholls at Newbury, winning the Mar-Key Group Beginners’ Chase and the MC Seafoods Novices’ Chase, as well as finishing second in the Bathwick Tyres Andover Novices’ Chase. Big Buck’s could only finish third in the Systems by Design Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick and seventh in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, but he showed his true quality in winning the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree.

Returning to Cheltenham Racecourse saw an incredible run of results, winning the Unicoin Homes Handicap Hurdle, the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, following this into later months with further wins in the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, and Newbury wins in the Sporting Bet Long Distance Hurdle and the Racing UK On Virgin 536 Long Walk Hurdle. 2011 started in the same vein, winning his second Ladbrokes World Hurdle, his second Sporting Bet Long Distance Hurdle, the BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, and the Lough Derg Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Now coming into 2012, the winning streak that started in 2008 continued to roll on, winning another two Cheltenham races in the Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Big Buck’s won another BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle too, as well as another win in the Sporting Bet Long Distance Hurdle. This was followed by a 420-day break, where going back to Cheltenham Racecourse didn’t see as much success, finishing third in the Galliard Homes Cleeve Hurdle and fifth in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Big Buck’s Cheltenham

When horse racing fans accredit Cheltenham Racecourse as being a venue where legends are made, Big Buck’s is one of the many horses who was capable of setting his own stamp on the sport. He holds a record for winning four consecutive world hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, putting him down as the greatest staying hurdler in the history of horse racing.

Stating the impact that Big Buck’s had on horse racing is easy to do after he retired, but he didn’t start at Cheltenham Festival in the best of ways, only reaching seventh in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase. It was only ten months later where he kicked into gear, winning the Unicoin Homes Handicap Hurdle, the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle, and his first win in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. He won a further three world hurdles in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of the festival, grabbing his fourth win in the same year that he also won the Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle. It was clear to see that his time was up in 2014, where he finished third in the Galliard Homes Cleeve Hurdle and could only reach fifth in a race that he used to regularly dominate.

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