Cheltenham legend Big Buck's retired following Ladbrokes World Hurdle run
Big Buck's has been retired after finishing unplaced in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Last Updated: 13/03/14 6:21pm
Paul Nicholls' brilliant eleven-year-old won the Grade One race a remarkable four successive times before missing last season's renewal following an injury setback.
He returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to finish third in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, his first defeat over timber, and the trainer was confident he was primed to run a huge race in Thursday's World Hurdle.
However he was in trouble three out before running on bravely to finish fifth behind More Of That and Annie Power.
Nicholls said: "Andy (Stewart, owner) and I have been talking about it and I couldn't improve him any more on what he's done today. We won't ask him to run again as he's been a wonderful horse and wonderful for racing."
Stewart said: "The great horse is not as great as he was when a nine-year-old. He had 420 days off (before returning in the Cleeve Hurdle) and he's obviously not sparkling any more. At Fishers Cross beat him in the Cleeve and has done so again and I think he is finding the years getting to him.
"We have done as much as we possibly can and there's no way we can improve on that - what you saw today is as good as he is but he owes us nothing.
"He's going back to Ditcheat where all my other retired horses are, and he'll be with Cenkos. It's been very flattering the way the public have taken to him.
"He's probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, staying hurdler of all-time, and it's time to enjoy his retirement. He's been great for the public, great for racing and I love him to death."