It will be all systems go for yet another World Hurdle if BIG BUCK'S comes through this unscathed. Paul Nicholls' stayer has been patiently nursed back to health and, though this will be the 11-year-old's first run since beating Reve De Sivola by nine lengths in the 2012 Long Walk Hurdle, defeat is unlikely. Reve De Sivola has been cashing in while the champion has been away, winning last month's Long Walk at Ascot where At Fishers Cross was a beaten horse when crashing out at the last. The latter has much to prove now. Boston Bob's chase career stalled last spring but he made a winning return over hurdles and may be kept to the smaller obstacles for the time being. He makes more appeal than Knockara Beau and Quartz de Thaix, also better known as chasers.
Big Buck's (FR) Evens2fav (11-8) Made most, cantered clear on bit from 2 out, effortless, won at Newbury 3m hdl G2 (1) sft in Dec '12 beating Reve De Sivola (11-0) by 9l, 4 ran.
Reve de Sivola (FR) 9-4 (11-7) Made all, hit 5th, not fluent 8th, clear 3 out, reduced lead and hit 2 out, clear again and in command between last 2, left further clear at the last, won at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec beating Salubrious (11-7) by 10l, 5 ran.
At Fishers Cross (IRE) 8-11fav (11-7) Tracked leading pair, closer order to dispute 2nd when hit 3 out, 2nd soon after, closed approaching 2 out, ridden and no impression between last 2, well held when blundered badly and unseated rider last, in a race won by Reve De Sivola (11-7) at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec, 5 ran.
Boston Bob (IRE) 8-11fav (11-4) Tracked leaders, went 3rd 4 out, improved into 2nd travelling well entering straight, led at last, stayed on strongly run-in, comfortably, won at Punchestown 2m 4f hdl hvy in Dec beating Un Beau Matin (11-12) by 10l, 7 ran.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 9-1 (11-10) Led, headed 10th, mistake and lost place 14th, soon behind, stayed on flat, no impression, 5th of 9, 21l behind Monbeg Dude (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec.
Quartz de Thaix (FR) 16-1 (11-7) Tracked leader from 2nd, not fluent 3rd, led before 5th, headed when not fluent next, led 7th, headed and switched left before last, led again flat, headed final 150 yards, no impression towards finish, 2nd of 9, 3 1/2l behind Return Spring (10-13) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) sft.