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Last Updated: 12/04/12 6:08pm
Big Buck's is clear of Crack Away Jack at the line
Big Buck's duly made history with a 17th consecutive victory over hurdles in the BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.
In a race devalued by the exits of Poungach, Won In The Dark and Smad Place in the back straight, Paul Nicholls' charge was not extended to win the Grade One race for a fourth time.
Sent off a prohibitive 2/9 favourite, Big Buck's cantered round behind leaders Across The Bay and Poungach until the latter capsized, taking out Won In The Dark.
Smad Place then made a bad mistake and got rid of Robert Thornton four flights from the finish, leaving the door open for Big Buck's to surpass Sir Ken's previous record set in the 1950s.
Jumping to the front three out, Ruby Walsh eased the nine-year-old away from the three remaining in touch, and two more fluent jumps in the straight sealed victory by nine lengths, from a seemingly revitalised Crack Away Jack (33/1) with Across The Bay (50/1) keeping on for each-way supporters.
"He seemed to be idling a little in front," said Andy Stewart, owner of Big Buck's. "Alan King's horse (Smad Place) was right behind us until unfortunately he came to grief. I was glad to see them all get up.
"We take every race as it comes and we are totally flattered by the reception he has been given by everyone here. He hasn't had an off-day since unseating in the Hennessy a few years ago.
"Undoubtedly (this win means the most), this is absolutely marvellous. Each win is very precious, but obviously to do 17 and go into the record books is very precious to us.
"It's been very flattering. People have been coming up for my autograph - he's more newsworthy than I am, but it's a privilege.
"Next year he'll go for the same programme and the Cleeve Hurdle as well."
Nicholls said: "It was straightforward today. He jumped and travelled and did everything right. We're happy with him.
"Now he's got older it pays to give him a race between the Long Walk and Cheltenham, so the Cleeve is ideal. We'll follow the same route."
Walsh added: "The easy part is riding him. He's an incredible horse. He's skated in today. It wasn't as competitive a race as Cheltenham.
"He's bolted in and the last couple of years he's been better here than at Cheltenham.
"We're lucky we've never got to the bottom of him. He's never been extended over hurdles. I would say there's more there."