Big Buck's with another super-slick jump at Newbury on SaturdayPICTURE: Getty Images
Imperious Big Buck's makes it 18 on the spin
Report: Newbury, Saturday
Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m½f, 4yo+
STAR staying hurdler Big Buck's made it 18 straight wins when he strolled home in the Long Distance Hurdle, his fourth successive victory in the race.
Not that any other outcome was expected as Andy Stewart's nine-year-old faced only three rivals and was sent off a 1-12 shot, the shortest price he has returned at.
He had far too much class for Reve De Sivola who was beaten nine lengths into second with Fox Appeal further back in third.
The winner's stablemate Five Dream, who kept the son of Cadoudal company for much of the race, may have paid for that and came home last.
An attempt to win a fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March remains the big target for Big Buck's and William Hill left him at 6-5 for that, while Paddy Power are still evens.
It was at Newbury's Hennessy meeting four years ago that the career of Big Buck's took the turn which resulted in racing's greatest long-distance hurdler emerging.
Well fancied for the Hennessy as a promising second-season chaser in 2008, he unseated Sam Thomas when in contention at the last. The decision was then taken to switch him back to hurdles and connections have not looked back since.
"I think he's as good as ever, he certainly looks better than at any time last year," said trainer Paul Nicholls, who confirmed Ascot's Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle on December 22 as the next step for his ace.
"He's so professional now and whereas in the past you thought he might be the one to get himself beat he's so relaxed and straightforward now.
"That will have put him spot on for Ascot and all roads lead to Cheltenham."
Jockey Ruby Walsh, who has been aboard for all but two races of the amazing sequence, added: "As soon as he gets to the races he switches on and he was awesome today. He's a bit of an oddball but they say that about all geniuses. He's a brilliant horse."