BIG BUCK'S is impossible to oppose here and he can win his eighth race in a row, with Tidal Bay renewing his game of chase the Big Buck's tail. Paul Nicholls' gelding laughed at his rivals when winning his second World Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and he meets his rivals on the same terms today. This more speed-based track holds no fears for him as he showed when winning last year and although he may hit his customary flat spot he really shouldn't lose. The most interesting aspect of Tidal Bay's challenge is that Denis O'Regan has asked not to ride him. The horse likes the track though and looks like solid tricast material. Kayf Aramis is a good handicapper but slightly below this level, Bouggler is a course winner but he is better over a shorter trip although the application of cheek-pieces may help him to settle, whilst this has never been the long term target for Possol. Souffleur, Wolf Moon and Silver Token should not be good enough whilst Time For Rupert is a non-runner as he reportedly scoped badly on Wednesday. Big Buck's is unopposable in his quest for yet another success.
Big Buck's (FR) 5-6fav (11-10) Held up in mid-division, smooth headway to track leaders 3 out, cruised through to join leader between last 2, led narrowly when not fluent last, asserted to go clear flat, won at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar beating Time For Rupert (11-10) by 3 1/2l, 14 ran.
Bouggler 4-1 (11-8) Held up in mid-division, ridden approaching 3 out, headway approaching 2 out, soon led, headed approaching last, switched right when not much room flat, weakened and lost 2nd place towards finish, 3rd of 8, 3 1/2l behind Souffleur (11-4) at Haydock 3m 1f hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.
Kayf Aramis 22-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, ridden and outpaced after 2 out, one pace and no impression last, 5th of 24, 8l behind Buena Vista (10-1) at Cheltenham 3m lstd hcp hdl (1) gs in Mar.
Possol (FR) 28-1 (11-7) Tracked leader until 8th, weakened after 3 out, 5th of 19, 34l behind Berties Dream (11-7) at Cheltenham 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.
Silver Token 11-2 (10-13) Mid-division, headway when not fluent 5th, led briefly before next, ridden 3 out, weakened 2 out, 4th of 14, 14l behind Talenti (11-2) at Huntingdon 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gs in Mar.
Souffleur 7-2 (11-11) Held up in touch, went 2nd after 3 out, every chance between last 2, ridden and kept flat, 2nd of 7, 2l behind Trenchant (11-7) at Fontwell 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Tidal Bay (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) Mid-division, not fluent 3rd, outpaced 3 out, weakened before next, 7th of 14, 19l behind Big Buck's (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Time For Rupert (IRE) 16-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, headway to lead 3 out, joined by winner between last 2, headed narrowly last, soon ridden and kept on, no pace of winner, 2nd of 14, 3 1/2l behind Big Buck's (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Wolf Moon (IRE) 5-1 (11-11) Soon in touch, under pressure after 6th, lost place 4 out, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Clova Island (11-2) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Feb, 11 ran.