FOUR-TIME champion Big Buck’s tops 29 entries for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 13.
The 11-year-old, winner of the three-mile showpiece from 2009 to 2012, was denied the chance of a fifth successive triumph last year through injury.
He is, though, on course in his bid to take his undefeated run over hurdles to 19 in the £60,000 galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday week.
Big Buck’s, trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Andy Stewart, will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies for the first time in public in that race.
Local hopes rest with Tim Easterby’s Trustan Times who holds an entry at Haydock tomorrow.
Malton trainer Malcolm Jefferson praised the patience of jockey Brian Hughes who completed a 34-1 Market Rasen double yesterday on Enchanted Garden and Firth Of The Clyde.
Meanwhile, Brian Ellison’s Yorkist, twice a winner at Catterick in recent weeks, extended his winning sequence to three under Nathan Moscrop at the Lincolnshire venue.
Middleham Park racing manager Tim Palin is still pinching himself after the syndicate’s Toormore, trained by Richard Hannon, was crowned champion two-year-old in the European Thoroughbred Rankings.
The son of Arakan cost just £36,000 for the Barton-upon-Humber firm and ended the season by winning the Group One National Stakes in Ireland. “It’s a bit of a miracle, to be honest,” said Palin.
He is 10-1 for the 2000 Guineas and Palin revealed he is likely to head straight to the first Classic of the season without a prep run.