Which jockey rode Big Buck’s in the Hennessy Gold Cup?
Owned by the late Andy Stewart and trained by Paul Nicholls, Big Buck’s is best known for winning the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival four years running, in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and is widely recognised as the greatest staying hurdler in history. Winner of the Grade 2 Prix Amadou at Auteil for his original trainer, Rene Lacomte, in May, 2007, Big Buck’s joined Nicholls the following November and was immediately sent over fences.
Big Buck’s opened his account over the larger obstacles at the first time of asking, with a narrow, but ready, win in a four-runner beginners’ chase at Newbury. Later in his novice season, he also won the Grade 2 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree under Ruby Walsh. Big Buck’s reappeared in the Hennessy Gold Cup – now the Ladbrokes Trophy – at Newbury the following November, for which he was sent off 5/1 joint second favourite.
With Sam Thomas deputising for the injured Walsh, Big Buck’s was only 3 lengths behind eventual winner Madison Du Berlais, and staying on, when blundering badly and unseating his rider at the third-last fence. That mishap proved to be a blessing in disguise; put back over hurdles, Big Buck’s embarked on a winning streak that would last for 18 consecutive races and more than five years. His record stood until April, 2019, when beaten by the recently retired dual Champion Chase winner Altior.