Ruby Walsh reckons a hypothetical match-up between the legendary duo of Hurricane Fly and Big Buck’s could go either way – depending on which Cheltenham course they race on.
We love a good ‘what if’ scenario here at Paddy Power, so imagine our delight when a From The Horse’s Mouth listener asked Ruby’s opinion on a dream shootout between two of the best hurdlers in recent years – if both were competing in their prime.
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Hurricane Fly made his name in Ireland under trainer Willie Mullins, proving particularly effect at Leopardstown where he won all 10 races entered during his stellar career.
The two-mile specialist was a dual winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, with Ruby on board in both 2011 and 2013, while he previously held the world record for most Grade 1 wins (22).
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Meanwhile, fan-favourite Big Buck’s was more adept over 3m and wrote his name in the history books with four consecutive Stayers’ Hurdle wins at the festival between 2009 and 2012.
Ruby rode the Paul Nicholls-trained superstar on each occasion, and our jockey-turned-pundit also partnered the brown gelding to 14 other victories throughout his decorated career.
While both horses are champions in their own right, Ruby was in little doubt about who would win over two-and-a-half miles at Cheltenham on soft ground – but there’s a caveat.
When posed with the ‘dream race’ question on the latest episode of our ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast series, Ruby said: “It would depend, because there are two different tracks at Cheltenham.
“Jumping is so important on the Old Course with three hurdles in the last four furlongs.
“I would therefore say Hurricane Fly would definitely beat Big Bucks on the Old Course, because of those three hurdles in the last four furlongs.
“Whereas on the New Course you only have two hurdles in the last 7f so that would definitely play more to the strength of Big Buck’s stamina.”
With both Hurricane Fly and Big Buck’s now happily retired, it’s a match-up that will never come to fruition – so who are we to argue with Ruby?
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