Big Buck's continued his comeback from injury at Exeter
Last Updated: 19/12/13 1:08pm
Big Buck's continued his comeback from injury with a racecourse gallop in the company of Solar Impulse at Exeter.
The popular staying hurdler has been absent with a tendon injury since winning the Long Distance Hurdle in December 2012 but is set to reappear later this season with connections confident that he has made a full recovery.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has brought his Cadoudal gelding, who is unbeaten in 18 runs over timber, to the track at Exeter at the past and repeated the exercise as the 10 year old builds towards his eagerly anticipated return.
Completing a circuit of the track in the company of the Graham Wylie-owned three year old who has yet to run in Britain, Big Buck's eased clear at the winning post in what was little more than a routine piece of work.
He has been back cantering since October and is being aimed at the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January before bidding for a fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle triumph at the Cheltenham Festival.
Nicholls said: "I've had him pretty fit as he has done lots of preparatory work, it was just a matter of getting him back on to a racecourse and that was his first bit on grass. With all of ours we tend to get them ready on the all-weather and it was pleasing that he didn't blow too much. It's been a long road back, but there was no way I was going to rush it.
"Our plan was to go for the Cleeve Hurdle ahead of the World Hurdle and then possibly take in Aintree in the spring. To be quite honest he looks as good as new, and when you consider the likes of Tidal Bay and Kauto Star he is still a young horse and there is no reason he won't be as good as he's ever been.
"With any horse who has had the problems he's had, you take it day by day. It was the same injury that Al Ferof sustained and he has come back at the top level.
"He's done loads of steady work on the walker and is a horse that wants to be ready to run. It's amazing, but he hardly ever blows afterwards. He was going to come back at the top level or not at all, and I am really delighted with him. That will have done him the world of good. I'm really thrilled, it looks like he's still got it."
Daryl Jacob told Racing UK that the day out was exactly what was required.
"We went a nice even gallop, just exactly what we needed. Paul wanted another nice day out and he's [Big Buck's] had a nice day out and he looked good as well in the parade ring beforehand and it will do him the world of good, just sharpen him up a bit. He looks great and he felt good there today."
The jockey even raised the possibility that the enforced absence could have been of benefit to Big Buck's adding: "It's a possibility He's been on the go for a long time and he's had a proper break now and you never know with these things but hopefully so.
"He's very chilled and very professional and it was a great day out for him. He loved every minute of it and he's moving well, he just generally enjoyed his day out."
"It's exactly what we needed and he's an amazing horse to ride and to school and I'm very lucky. He's an exciting horse to have anything to do with."