The build up to the Cheltenham Festival is now almost in full swing and many of the biggest fancies are taking to the course in order to further their preparations.
At least four potential Festival superstars are in action this weekend, with leading hurdlers Big Buck’s and Hurricane Fly stealing the show.
Big Buck’s is unbeaten in all 14 starts over hurdles and will be looking to extend this record first this weekend in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham and then when attempting to land a fourth successive Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Festival.
Only five rivals will oppose him in his first challenge which should prove relatively straightforward, but things will be much tougher in the World Hurdle, where Big Buck’s is the 4/7 favourite.
Hurricane Fly has not been since yet this season after failing to satisfy trainer Willie Mullins at home, but will look to prove anyone doubting his wellbeing with a strong performance in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Like Big Buck’s, Hurricane Fly takes on four rivals and should face stiffer opposition from the likes of Thousand Stars and Unaccompanied.
If Hurricane Fly is successful, then he will almost certainly be shorter than his current 6/4 to win the Champion Hurdle in March.
Elsewhere, Captain Chris will want to show that he is a live outside contender to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup by seeing out the 3m1f in the Argento Chase, with Diamond Harry and Time For Rupert among the leading opposition.
Meanwhile, Sir Des Champs will enhance his credentials for the Jewson at Cheltenham and may even be sent off favourite if he triumphs in the Boylesports.com Bet On Your Mobile Novice Chase where he faces an anticipated showdown with Hidden Cyclone.