Belfast Telegraph

Get a few dollars on Big Buck's, Fly and Annie Power

By Robert Fenton

Racing's top stars are on parade this weekend with Big Buck's and Hurricane Fly hogging the limelight.

Both are record-breakers, Big Buck's being the only horse to win the World Hurdle four years on the bounce and set for a fifth triumph in March after missing out last year due to injury.

Ulster-owned Hurricane has 18 Grade One wins including two Cheltenham Champion Hurdles under his belt and he too will be heading back to the Festival in search of more glory.

But before that, he can take a fourth consecutive Irish Champion Hurdle tomorrow at his favourite Leopardstown track where he renews rivalry with Down Royal Festival winner Jezki and Our Conor, both of whom he comprehensively defeated in the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas over course and distance.

He's a firm favourite and, in all honesty, it's difficult to see his rivals making the necessary improvement to turn the form around.

Fly's trainer Willie Mullins sends Annie Power to contest Doncaster's Mares Hurdle today and she shouldn't be missed.

Unbeaten in nine races, she will not be inconvenienced in dropping back to two miles – she's a World Hurdle prospect – and should be coupled with Hurricane Fly for a weekend double.

As for Big Buck's, his comeback under new in-form partner Sam Twiston-Davis will engender much interest in Cheltenham's Cleeve Hurdle today as he bids for 19 wins in a row, his last being at Newbury back in 2012 when he beat his main rival today, Reve De Sivola, by nine lengths.

The latter won this race last year and comes fresh from a triumph in Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle.

Buck's is odds-on for a winning comeback and he just has to be near his best to oblige before heading as market leader for another Festival engagement.

Belfast Telegraph

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