PAUL Nicholls is enjoying a marvellous season but if Big Buck’s makes a winning reappearance in the Cleeve Hurdle during Cheltenham Trials Day on Saturday then it will go down as one of his finest – if not THE finest – training performance of his career. Despite his long absence, Big Buck’s is odds-on, which I find incredible. Now 11, the horse is well into veteran stage and I can’t see him beating the likes of REVE DE SIVOLA. I desperately hope I’m wrong. Interestingly Boston Bob has been well supported and is 9/2 (in from 6s) with BetVictor since it was revealed Ruby Walsh could make the dash from Doncaster to ride him.
The supporting card at Cheltenham is mouth-wateringly brilliant. Nicholls could easily complete a double with Rocky Creek in the Argento Chase. He ran a blinder in the Hennessy and some astute judges have nibbled at this fellow for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But I’m plumping for the mud-loving HARRY TOPPER. He has been well supported this week as the rain has continued to fall and he is in from 10/1 to 6s with BetVictor.
The Ditcheat maestro should collect with the improving VICENZO MIO. He looked like a thorough stayer when winning at Kempton and can stake his claim for the Triumph Hurdle in the opening race. He should relish the hill and can see off the promising Goodwood Mirage.
AUBOSSON revels in the mud and could be hard to beat in the Grade 2 Novices Hurdle under 20-year-old university student Lizzie Kelly. What a story that would be if he turned up at the Festival on March 12 for the Neptune.
ANNACOTTY is another favourite of mine and his Feltham victory was no surprise, to me at least. He faces a stiff task in the 2m 5f chase but if he is allowed to dominate then he could go in again.
At Doncaster the clash between Rock on Ruby and VALDEZ is fascinating. Valdez is my Arkle horse and I don’t expect his current price of 16/1 for the Festival with BetVictor under their Non Runner Free Bet deal to still be available after tomorrow.
Talking of Cheltenham, BetVictor are going Non Runner No Bet on the four Championship races at the Festival. Check out the latest prices here