BIG BUCK'S beat Five Dream, Restless Harry and Dynaste when gaining his 14th successive victory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and shouldn't have any problems with that trio back on his favourite track. The latter holds Across The Bay on earlier running so the only possible threat looks to be Mourad. Willie Mullins' charge wasn't far behind Paul Nicholls' star in last year's World Hurdle and has continued in good form at the highest level. A slow gallop could play to his strengths here and he's one of the few staying hurdlers around who can give the great champion a race.
Big Buck's (FR) 3-10fav (11-7) Mid-division, headway to go 3rd halfway, shaken up to lead approaching 2 out, soon clear, impressive, won at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec beating Five Dream (11-7) by 8l, 7 ran.
Mourad (IRE) 4-5fav (11-8) Tracked leader in 2nd, headway to lead after 3 out, strongly pressed and headed early straight, soon no impression on winner, kept on same pace, 2nd of 6, 5l behind Voler La Vedette (11-3) at Leopardstown 3m hdl G2 (1) gd in Dec.
Restless Harry 16-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, under pressure 4 out, stayed on same pace from 2 out, 3rd of 7, 10l behind Big Buck's (11-7) at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Dynaste (FR) 9-2 (11-7) Led, 4 lengths clear after 4 out, headed before 2 out, soon faded, 4th of 7, 20l behind Big Buck's (11-7) at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Across The Bay (IRE) 9-2fav (11-5) Led until 4th, stayed handy, ridden after 5th, stayed on from last, went 2nd flat, no impression on winner, 2nd of 13, 4 1/2l behind Safran De Cotte (9-10) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) hvy in Dec.
Five Dream (FR) 66-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, headway 3 out, chased winner approaching last, never able to challenge, 2nd of 7, 8l behind Big Buck's (11-7) at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.