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Big Buck’s to work before racing at Exeter
BIG BUCK’S takes another important step towards his bid for a remarkable fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle triumph when he works before racing at Exeter this afternoon.
The Paul Nicholls-trained champion, who has been out of action since taking his winning sequence over hurdles to 18 at Newbury more than a year ago, could return to action in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham next month if everything goes to plan.
Nicholls said on Wednesday: “Big Buck’s is going to do two miles around Exeter. He’s not doing a serious gallop. He will get fitter and do a bit more next time. I want to give him a day out as much as anything.
“He’s been working well at home and I just want to put him on the lorry and let him go round and enjoy himself. In a month’s time we’ll do the same again somewhere, but then he’ll be asked to do a serious piece of work.
“Daryl [Jacob] will ride him. He schooled him last week. Rose Loxton rides him most days and Daryl or Nick [Scholfield] schools him, but Daryl is riding there tomorrow. There’s a bit of rain about so I’ll check everything is all right in the morning. If it’s not I wouldn’t take him, obviously.”
The going at the Devon track is soft following 29mm of rain.
Nicholls saddles the likely favourite, Bury Parade, in the day’s feature event, the £20,000 Free Racing Tips Graduation Chase, which has attracted just four runners.
The Ditcheat handler said: “Bury Parade won well last time and, as he likes going right-handed and is eligible, it’s the perfect race to go for. Going back in trip won’t be a problem.”
The rain might play to the strengths of the Donald McCain-trained Desert Cry who returns from a 222-day layoff, but might prove unsuitable for Alan King’s Lidar, set to return after 342 days on the sidelines.
McCain said: “We’ve been looking for some slow ground to get Desert Cry started, and I hope they get all the rain that’s been forecast.”
King, whose stable has been under something of a cloud in the last fortnight, said: “Lidar has been off a long time. It wouldn’t be ideal for him if it goes soft or heavy, but we’ve got to get him started somewhere.”
Towcester: Soft, good to soft in places
Andrea Atzeni and Michael Wigham are 4-5 at Southwell. They team up with Barbados Bob (2.00)
In the last five seasons Jason Maguire has figures of 1341641111 in non-handicap chases at Exeter. He rides Desert Cry (1.50)
Pointers courtesy of Raceform Interactive