The Grand National meeting at Aintree could reproduce one of the greatest races of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival should Grands Crus line-up alongside Big Buck’s in the Liverpool Hurdle.
Following on from his Cleeve Hurdle win and his impressive second in the World Hurdle, Grands Crus has emerged as a real contender to Big Buck’s and while the six-year-old still has two lengths to find on Cheltenham form, his age is a positive against the eight-year-old Big Buck’s.
The Liverpool Hurdle has been Big Buck’s race in recent years – he will be going for a hat-trick of wins at this year’s Grand National meeting – and he’s sure to go off odds-on come Thursday April 7th.
Should the ground dry up then Grands Crus will instead head to the Punchestown Festival in May as trainer David Pipe targets one more run this season before preparing his star for a tilt at the 2012 World Hurdle.
Big Buck’s is currently 1/1 to go on and win a fourth World Hurdle next year but Grands Crus is available at 5/1 and with some believing that Big Buck’s may attempt another season over fences, Grands Crus would be the suitable favourite for the World Hurdle in Big Buck’s absence.
Paul Nicholls may be training a machine in Big Buck’s – unbeaten in 11 and 16 career wins – but age is on Grands Crus side and the exciting hurdler will be one to watch over the next few seasons.
Meanwhile David Pipe has five entries for the Grand National with three likely to get a run – Or Noir De Somoza (50/1), Comply Or Die (40/1) and Piraya (150/1).
Former winner Comply Or Die finished a disappointing 12th last year but if he can replicate his 2008 and 2009 Grand National form, he has a real each-way chance and could be a huge price at 40/1.
A £20 stake on Grands Crus winning the 2012 Ladbrokes World Hurdle would return £120. New customers can sign up here to get £60 in free bets.