Big Bucks - Liverpool Hurdle - Aintree 8.4.2010

Big Buck's is unbeaten in four starts over hurdles and fences at Aintree

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Big Buck's to bid for 17th win in a row at Aintree

BIG BUCK'S will attempt to win his 17th consecutive race when he lines up in the BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle next Thursdaywith his owner Andy Stewart confident that his star can maintain his winning run.

Winner of the past four Labrokes World Hurdle's, Big Buck's is likely to be joined by Celestial Halo, also owned by Stewart, in the Liverpool Hurdle as he looks to defend his unbeaten record at Aintree.

"Big Buck's has been absolutely fine," Stewart said. "Obviously he had a race at Cheltenham as they all did, but there have been no problems at all.

"He's never been beaten at Liverpool because he ran in a chase race the year before he won his first Liverpool Hurdle but I wouldn't say he is better at Aintree as the fields he's been facing there haven't been as strong as at Cheltenham."

Big Buck's had to fight off Voler La Vedette on his previous start in the World Hurdle but Stewart feels his runner was not overly pushed to claim victory.

He said: "After this year's World Hurdle you wouldn't have known he had a race - he could have gone round again. One day he will turn around and say I don't want to do this any more but I think we are miles away from that at the moment."

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.