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2014 World Hurdle tips: Big Buck's v Annie Power - Who will come out on top?

The World Hurdle on Thursday sees four-time champion Big Buck's take on the undefeated mare Annie Power. Who will come out top?

The stayers crown has been billed as a straight fight between the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck's, who is back attempting to regain his crown, and Annie Power, the mare who has yet to be beaten in her foot perfect career.

There are 10 others lining up against them (that is likely to become nine with Quevega unlikely to run following her sixth straight win in the Mares Hurdle on Tuesday), but in truth the bookmakers and punters alike expect to see Big Buck's and Annie Power going hammer and tongs up the hill on Thursday afternoon.

Will it be Big Buck's regaining the title he made his own? Or will Annie Power stay the three-mile trip and maintain her perfect career record? Here are reasons to make for both contenders:

Big Buck's 

The heart says Big Buck's will regain his crown, but the head says it is going to be tough ask for the old champ. He made the race his own with four successive win between 2009 and 2012 during a long unbeaten run, only to be ruled out through injury last year as Solwhit took over the mantle as the best staying hurdler.



Big Buck's is getting no younger and coming into the race he might well just be lacking race sharpness after just one run back from his absence, that coming at Cheltenham in January well is record run of wins came to an end in the Cleeve Hurdle as he finished third to surprise winner Knockara Beau.

Sam Twiston-Davies was a new man on the back of Big Buck's that day and we'll find out on Thursday is the young jockey can strike up the same affinity with the 11-year-old that Ruby Walsh enjoyed during the sensational winning run.

Annie Power

Annie Power is one of the strongest fancies of the entire Festival and that says something for a horse coming from the Willie Mullins stable and carrying the same colours as the already impressive winners Vautour and Faugheen.



If any man knows what it is going to take to beat Big Buck's then it is Ruby Walsh, who won the race on the four-time champion when riding for Paul Nicholls, and he has been adamant Annie Power should go for the three-miler. 

There are doubts over her stamina for the stayers' trip - she's only run over two-and-a-half miles twice. But she knows nothing but who to win and, providing they don't go too quick a gallop, then I don't see it being a problem 


Verdict

If Annie Power stays then she wins. She's getting weight from the males and that can make the difference. We've seen this week already with Hurricane Fly that the age legs of proven performers do not possess the speed of the younger brigade and I suspect Big Buck's will find that out too. It is Annie Power's race to lose if she can go the distance.


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2014 World Hurdle tips: Big Buck's v Annie Power - Who will come out on top?

The World Hurdle on Thursday sees four-time champion Big Buck's take on the undefeated mare Annie Power. Who will come out top?

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