Shades of Big Buck's as imperious McFabulous stamps himself a star in the making

McFabulous: easy winner of the Persian War Novices' Hurdle
McFabulous: easy winner of the Persian War Novices' HurdleCredit: Mark Cranham (

It looks like Paul Nicholls has another star on his hands. Granted, the opposition might not have been the strongest for the Grade 2 Persian War Novices' Hurdle, but the Ditcheat master's McFabulous won this in imperious fashion, barely coming off the bridle under Harry Cobden.

Courtandbould filled the runner-up spot, with One For The Team chasing them home in third.

Could the winner be the new Big Buck's? Betfair make him a 12-1 shot (from 16) for the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

This never looked anything other than very easy for McFabulous, who went off a 4-6 shot and in the end won by three lengths.

A good winner of the EBF Final at Kempton last March, he was not seen for the rest of the spring following the early curtailment of the season, but he made up for lost time here and looks a sure fire Grade 1 jumper, but whether his future lies over hurdles or fences is the question.

Nicholls said afterwards: "I was delighted with that. He's a good horse and he won with his ears pricked. He was just a big baby last year, but his hurdling was much better today. It's easy to say we'd go chasing, but I think he could be really competitive in a Stayers' Hurdle this year and a year hurdling will do him good.

"My view would be to go to Newbury for the Long Distance Hurdle next and if he's competitive in that we'll go down that route.

"He'll be a Gold Cup horse one day – he'll stay forever – but last year he was never a natural jumping and the same thing could happen over fences. Sometimes a horse can end up staying a Stayers' Hurdle horse and it's a good division to be good in."

When asked to compare his six-year-old to the yard's four-time Stayers' Hurdle hero Big Buck's, Nicholls added: "He's hugely talented, it just depends whether that talent ends up being over hurdles or fences."

Watch McFabulous return with a bang in the Persian War

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James HillTipster
Published on 9 October 2020Last updated 16:04, 9 October 2020