World Hurdle News: Annie and Buck's lead Cheltenham contenders

Big Buck's and Annie Power are set to clash at Cheltenham
Big Buck's and Annie Power are set to clash at Cheltenham

Big Buck's and Annie Power are among 16 confirmations for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham on Thursday...

Big Buck's and Annie Power are among 16 confirmations for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham on Thursday...

Big Buck's will be aiming to secure a remarkable fifth victory in the three-mile Grade One, having missed last year's renewal through injury.

The Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old suffered defeat on his return in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January under new pilot Sam Twiston-Davies, but remains the one to beat in the feature event on day three of the Festival.

After much debate, Ireland's champion trainer Willie Mullins finally committed Annie Power to this event last week, with Ruby Walsh, who built up such a great association with Big Buck's over the years, due to partner the unbeaten mare.

Annie Power heads the market for the World Hurdle, trading as the 2.8615/8 favourite, while Big Buck's has drifted since Annie Power was declared an intended starter, now available to back at 4.216/5.

Nicholls is also set to saddle last year's runner-up Celestial Halo, Salubrious and Zarkandar, while Mullins has also left in Boston Bob, Thousand Stars and Quevega, but the latter is virtually assured to bid for her sixth consecutive victory in Tuesday's Mares' Hurdle.

Other major contenders for the stayers' crown include At Fishers Cross, More Of That, Rule The World and Reve De Sivola.

Two Timeform writers have been debating who they think will come out on top between Annie Power and Big Buck's. You can read their arguments HERE.


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