McCoy keeps faith with Big Buck's

McCoy keeps faith with Big Buck

Tony McCoy is backing Big Buck's to win a third consecutive Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next month despite the emergence of Grands Crus as a hot contender for the lond distance hurdling crown.

Grands Crus came to prominence in the World Hurdle betting market after his impressive win in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltanham’s Festival Trials Day meeting on 29 January. Tom Scudamore guided the David Pipe trained 6-year-old to an easy 10 length win over Knockara Beau when cruising from the back of the field to spark a flurry of Cheltenham betting activity.

Odds for the French-bred gelding tumbled from 12/1 to 3/1 after the grey continued his progressive form against 13 rivals over the World Hurdle course and 3 mile distance. Money has continued to pour into bookmakers satchels in the last ten days and Boylesports odds of 5/2 are now the best available for Grands Crus to deny Big Buck’s his moment of glory. Victor Chandler bet evens for the Paul Nicolls trained 8-year-old who is yet to come off the bridle while maintaining his unbeaten record over hurdles in England. In a betting market where the leading online bookmakers bet odds-on Big Buck’s, there are plenty of judges who think he will face his stiffest test next month against David Pipe's exciting youngster.

McCoy was behind Grands Crus in the Cleeve when riding Cristal Bonus for Evan Williams and having deputised for the injured Ruby Walsh has had the honour of riding Big Buck’s on his two outings this season. The champion jockey believes the free-running style of Grands Crus could be a disadvantage at the Festival and said in the Independent: “To me, if you look at the best stayers, they always race behind the bridle. Horses like Baracouda and Inglis Drever never travelled through their races the way Grands Crus did in the Cleeve Hurdle. I could be wrong, but he'd have to be some horse to have enough in reserve to beat Big Buck's."

Big Buck’s attempts to go one better than Baracouda, denied a World Hurdle hat-trick when runner-up to Iris’s Gift in 2004, and Inglis Drever who won three World Hurdles in four Festivals between 2005-2008 after injury denied him his chance in 2006.

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