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Last Updated: January 20, 2010 3:46pm
Big Buck's - won in a canter.
Big Buck's made the perfect return for owner Andy Stewart and trainer Paul Nicholls when outclassing his rivals in the sportingbet.com Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
The World Hurdle hero laughed at the front-running Lough Derg all the way up the straight to come home unchallenged.
Ruby Walsh held on to him until letting out an inch of rein on the run-in, where the 2-5 favourite quickly settled the issue, scoring by seven lengths with a further five back to Duc De Regniere.
Some bookmakers were forced to make Big Buck's odds-on to retain his staying hurdle crown in March, such was the welter of money.
Coral are 4-5 from 6-4 for the Cheltenham Festival contest, but you can get 5-4 (from 7-4) with William Hill while the six-year-old is 5-4 from 6-4 with Ladbrokes.
Nicholls, who advised Stewart to agree to bring Big Buck's back to hurdling after his defeat in the Hennessy a year ago, said: "Andy thought I was mad but it's the best thing I did and that's the best he's ever jumped today.
"I felt he only had to improve a bit to become the best horse in the yard and he is now the finished article. It will be the Long Walk Hurdle (at Ascot) next and the traditional route back to Cheltenham."
An elated Stewart added: "We're very pleased, so roll on March. Of those I've seem Diamond Harry is the only one I'd be slightly worried about."