Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 10:20 26/01/2013
Turning for home in the 2012 World Hurdle four-time winner Big Buck's looked as if he was going to have a fight on his hands as several horses appeared to be going just as well as Paul Nicholls' superstar, especially the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky, but when stamina kicked-in after jumping the second last the 8 year-old's petrol gauge appeared to be on the empty mark.
Big Buck's and Voler La Vedette were left to fight out the finish with Oscar Whisky dropping out of it in fifth place beaten just over thirteen lengths. The son of Oscar's lack of stamina seemed to be confirmed when the gelding then went on to win the Grade 1 John Smith's Aintree Hurdle for the second year running with Champion Hurdle winner Rock on Ruby a well beaten third.
Ever since the World Hurdle Henderson has expressed the opinion that lack of stamina was not the sole reason for the horses' below-par performance at the festival and believes his charge was simply not at his best for the three mile contest. That theory will be put to the test in today's Cleeve Hurdle and the result will decide whether the horse attempts the stamina test again, this time without the formidable Big Buck's to worry about, or trys to build on his Champion Hurdle third place back in 2011.
Providing Oscar Whisky's stamina holds out the 2-1 on offer with bet365 would prove very generous but an each-way investment in Kentford Grey Lady at 22-1 with the same firm could pay dividends as Emma Lavelle's consistent 7 year-old has no stamina issues and is fancied to make the frame if nothing else.
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