Cleeve Hurdle: Twiston-Davies to ride Big Buck's

Big Buck's will have a new rider in the saddle when he returns to Cheltenham
Big Buck's will have a new rider in the saddle when he returns to Cheltenham

Sam Twiston-Davies is to take over the ride on four-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck's when he makes his comeback from injury at Cheltenham later this month.

"We explored all sorts of possibilities but we had to make sure whoever rode Big Buck's in the Cleeve Hurdle would also be available for the World Hurdle."

The Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck's has not run since the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December 2012, having been found to be suffering from a leg injury later that month.

He pleased in a racecourse gallop at Exeter before Christmas, and the Cleeve Hurdle on January 25 is his intended starting point before bidding for a fifth straight World Hurdle crown in March.

Unbeaten in 18 starts since reverting to hurdles, the 11-year-old has been ridden in all bar two of those runs by Ruby Walsh, with Tony McCoy deputising when Walsh was injured.

Owner Andy Stewart told The Sun: "We explored all sorts of possibilities but we had to make sure whoever rode Big Buck's in the Cleeve Hurdle would also be available for the World Hurdle."

"Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy will have other commitments."

"Daryl Jacob is Paul's stable jockey and our choice of Sam is no reflection on him. He will ride either Celestial Halo or Salubrious."

Big Buck's is currently ante-post favourite for the World Hurdle at odds of around 3.412/5, with initial entries announced next week. 


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