Big Buck's hurdles fluently on his way to a record-breaking successPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Buck's goes 17 unbeaten with Liverpool victory
Report: Aintree, Thursday
BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m½f, 4yo+
BIG BUCK'S galloped into history at Aintree on Thursday as he landed his 17th successive win over hurdles, surpassing Sir Ken's record, when taking a fourth Liverpool Hurdle.
As it was last year, the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck's never had a fright in landing the spoils - travelling comfortably and pulling away after taking the lead at the third-last flight.
Until the fourth-last Big Buck's had been tracked by Smad Place, who finished third behind him in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he never had the chance to test the 2-9 favourite as he blundered at that hurdle leaving Robert Thornton with no chance of staying on.
Crack Away Jack, having his first run since leaving Paul Nicholls, came within challenging distance of Big Buck's but it was effortless for the nine-year-old, who was idling and receiving plenty of pats down the neck from Walsh in the final stages.
It also proved to be an easy afternoon's work for one punter who reportedly placed £500,000 on Big Buck's to win with William Hill at 1-5.
Andy Stewart: "it's a privilege"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.coom/photos)
Winning owner Andy Stewart said: "He was just idling a bit in front. [Smad Place] was just in behind four-out when he unfortunately came to grief, I was glad to see them all get up.
"It's so flattering to have people asking for autographs - his, not mine. He's more newsworthy than I am. It's a privilege to be here. We'll follow the same routine next year but we will probably squeeze in the Cleeve Hurdle."
It was a long nine lengths back to Crack Away Jack in second with 50-1 chance Across The Bay, who had made much of the running, sticking on for third.
Nicholls added: "It was straightforward today. He jumped, travelled and everything went right. We're very happy with him and it was a greatride again. God willing he will stay sound and he will stay as sound as Kauto has."
Walsh is convinced that there is more to come from the winner if anything could challenge him enough.
"He's an incredible horse and he's skated in today," he said. "The race wasn't as competitive as Cheltenham. We're lucky that we haven't got to the bottom of him, he's never been extended and I think there's more there."
William Hill make Big Buck's 7-4 favourite to land a fifth World Hurdle at next year's Cheltenham Festival.
Also on Thursday
Edgardo Sol: will go to Ayr next Saturday for the Scottish Champion HurdlePICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m, 5yo+
PAUL NICHOLLS and Ruby Walsh notched a double on the card when Edgardo Sol eased to victory under a patient ride.
Always travelling well, Walsh went to the front two out and put the race to bed in a matter of strides, going on to win by an impressive 14 lengths.
Astracad stayed on for second while the brave Echo Bob just held on for third after helping set a strong pace.
Trainer Paul Nicholls said after the race: "He massively improved and he astounded me how well he's won today.
"He was a bit unlucky in the County Hurdle and I had him entered in four races at this meeting but I thought this was the right race for him.
"He'll go to Ayr next Saturday for the Scottish Champion Hurdle, as he will able to run off his old hurdle mark. Life will be an awful lot harder for him next year."