Paul Nicholls believes Oscar Whisky could represent the toughest task to date for Big Buck’s in Thursday’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Big Buck’s has dominated the staying division for the last three seasons, bagging three World Hurdles, and arrives here on a 15-race unbeaten run.
However, while the likes of Punchestowns, Time For Rupert and Grands Crus have fallen short in their challenges, Nicholls is aware of the threat posed by Nicky Henderson’s Oscar Whisky as he tackles three miles for the first time.
The Ditcheat handler still retains ultimate faith in Big Buck’s, though, and the nine-year-old will write his name into the record books if he can land a fourth triumph in the Grade One feature.
“Big Buck’s is in great order and comes good at this time of year,” said Nicholls.
“He keeps winning and he has beaten all of them except Oscar Whisky – I have a feeling he could be his toughest opponent to date.
“He’s the obvious one, but he’s going to have to be very good to beat Big Buck’s and to stay very well.
“You’d have to say Big Buck’s was my banker of the meeting as he’s such a brilliant horse and I think he looks better in his coat than ever.
“Oscar Whisky will be a very interesting opponent as he has been impressive in his races at Cheltenham.
“He is bred to stay three miles so it’s going to be very good race.”