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Last Updated: 18/03/11 9:25am
Big Buck's outpoints Grands Crus in a thriller to complete a World Hurdle hat-trick
Big Buck's won his third consecutive Ladbrokes World Hurdle in fantastic style at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday.
Paul Nicholls' eight-year-old was sent off the 10-11 favourite by punters and Ruby Walsh delivered for them once again by one-and-three-quarter-lengths from Grands Crus (7-2).
Tom Scudamore looked to be travelling well approaching the final flight but the champion found more to the delight of a packed Prestbury Park.
Mourad (8-1) was best of the rest in third.
Walsh said: "He's an aeroplane, but I made a bad mistake as I dropped my stick halfway to the last hurdle.
"It was my own fault as I was trying to see where the others were behind me so I was only half-watching what I was doing.
"I knew I had loads of horse left, but I knew it was going to be tactical and that Grands Crus was going to try to follow me.
"This horse has matured so much mentally you can stretch him in front and he has dug deep.
"He had an entry in the Arkle but I've always thought he could run a big race in the Champion Hurdle.
"I was lucky enough to get away with it today.
"He's a wonderful horse and he's got me out of trouble."
Walsh added: "In a hurdle race he's just as unbeatable as they come - he's like (American great) Cigar on the Flat.
"The guys riding against him knew exactly what to do and had their tactics spot-on, but it didn't matter.
"He's just different, he has so much class as you're riding a Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup horse in a stayers' hurdle."
Nicholls said: "We were a bit worried about the ground and that they weren't going to go a gallop.
"We knew pretty well what Grands Crus was going to do.
"We just improvised a little bit. I was nervous as he hasn't run on that ground. He wins by staying, and class is what he's got.
"David (Pipe) was the first to shake my hand. He's a great fellow. The best horse won on the day but it was an awesome performance by both horses.
"I think that's arguably Big Buck's career best."
Owner Andy Stewart added: "We are thrilled. Ruby was as cool as a cucumber."