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Big Buck’s has record winning run in sight

With racing historically the best-documented of all sports, it is perhaps no surprise that records and milestones hold particular fascination.

The calendar that preceded the modern formbook has detailed the achievements of thoroughbreds since 1727, while the stud book has recorded the development of the breeds since 1790.

Together, the two provide a treasury of information.

Jumping's longest winning streak is now under serious threat. On Saturday, the superlative hurdler Big Buck's, unbeaten for nearly three years, won his 13th race on the spin and now needs just three more to equal Sir Ken, who won 16 hurdle races in succession between 1951 and 1953.

That great horse's winning run included two of his three Champion Hurdles but in his day there were few decent prizes for horses of his gifts and many of his victories came in uncompetitive minor contests, one at odds of 1-33.

Big Buck's, though, has raced only at the top two levels since launching his unbeaten run in January 2009.

His five-length saunter at Newbury means he is now as short as 4-7 to establish his own piece of history by taking the Cheltenham Festival’s World Hurdle an unprecedented four times and his regular rider Ruby Walsh has few doubts.

“He's a good, safe jumper, goes on any ground and hardly has to come out of second gear,” he said.

“He's better than any pension at the moment, isn't he?”

Another hurdler, Overturn, put himself in the record books by becoming the first to win Newcastle's top Flat contest, the Northumberland Plate, and over obstacles, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

One in the versatile mould of a Sea Pigeon, the progressive Overturn saw off last year's Champion Hurdle winner Binocular for his first Grade One success but is to miss the rematch in the next top-level prize on the domestic two-mile circuit, the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

“He's as tough as nails and you wouldn't know he'd had a race this morning,” trainer Donald McCain said yesterday.

“He's a fantastic horse — just when you think he can't do any more, he goes and does it. But he'll have a break now and he won't be going to Kempton.”

Overturn has another tilt at the Champion Hurdle, in which he was seventh in March behind Ulster-owned winner Hurricane Fly, pencilled in.

“We'll have another go as he does seem to have improved this season,” McCain added.

“He'll have one run beforehand, but it won't be for a while.”

The Hennessy Gold Cup put Lord Oaksey in the unique position of being the only man to have ridden and bred a winner of the prestige handicap chase.

As an amateur he drove Taxidermist to a short-head victory in the second running in 1958 and is breeder and part-owner of the latest victor, Carruthers.

Saturday's hero, who made most of the running under Mattie Batchelor, has taken his exertions in his gallant stride and has the Welsh National at the end of next month on his agenda.

Meanwhile, at Navan yesterday, Groody Hill, under Alan Crowe, had a dramatic last-gasp victory in the Troytown Handicap Chase for top owner JP McManus.

Belfast Telegraph