Big Buck's wins 17th straight jumps race
Big Buck's became the first horse to win 17 straight British jump races when he cruised to an easy victory Thursday on the opening day of the Aintree Festival, which was marred by the death of a horse.
Gottany O's, trained by Donald McCain, fell during the Juvenile Hurdle race.
Big Buck's, ridden by Ruby Walsh and trained by Paul Nicholls, won the 3-mile race by seven lengths. Britain's leading horse racing guide, The Racing Post, said Big Buck's broke the 59-year world record he held with Sir Ken, who ran in the 1950s.
The 9-year-old Big Buck's hasn't lost since switching from racing over the bigger fences to the hurdles at the start of 2009.
Big Buck's went off as a 2-9 favorite and only took the lead with two hurdles remaining, building a big enough lead to cruise home to the acclaim of the crowd.
''We are totally flattered by the reception he has been given by everyone here,'' owner Andy Stewart said. ''He hasn't had an off-day since unseating in the Hennessy Gold Cup (in 2008).''
It was a bittersweet day for McCain, whose horse died after the second race. Earlier, a bronze bust of his father Ginger McCain was unveiled. The late legendary trainer saddled Red Rum to three victories in the Grand National Steeplechase.
McCain had a win with Cloudy Lane in the Fox Hunters' Chase. The 4-1 favorite won after 13 of the 26 entrants fell in a race over the fences to be used in Saturday's Grand National.