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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 16:05 UK

Hurdler Big Buck's voted jump racing horse of the year

By Frank Keogh

Big Buck's
Big Buck's won all four of his races in the 2009/10 season

Top hurdler Big Buck's has seen off a cast of jump racing stars to land the Horse of the Year award.

The Cheltenham and Aintree Festival winner, trained by Paul Nicholls, was the clear leader in a public poll.

Big Buck's won 32% of the 1,500 online votes, ahead of Imperial Commander, Kauto Star, Denman and Binocular.

At an awards ceremony, Kauto Star was given a rating of 190, the highest in the 11 years of such ratings, for his record fourth King George VI chase win.

A public vote to decide the horse of the year was held for the first time, with people making their choice via the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) website.

Big Buck's, owned by businessman Andy Stewart, was the only one of the five shortlisted horses to remain unbeaten all season.

The seven-year-old triumphed four times, with victories in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and Liverpool Hurdle capping an eight-race winning run.

Nicholls has said he is likely to aim him at a third World Hurdle win in March 2011 before switching him back to fences for a possible tilt at the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

606: DEBATE

Big Buck's dethroned Kauto Star, the 2007 and 2009 horse of the year, and was declared the winner by James Nesbitt - the racehorse-owning actor - at a ceremony in London on Monday.

Kauto Star became the first horse to win the King George four years running, but blotted his copybook when failing to retain his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown during the 2009/10 season.

Imperial Commander, who beat the highly-touted Kauto and his Nicholls-trained stablemate Denman to win at Cheltenham, was runner-up in the awards.

BHA chief executive Nic Coward said: "With such a stellar line-up of contenders for this award, no-one could have predicted the winner.

"However, the public has spoken and with four wins to his name, including three Grade One victories, there is no more deserving champion than Big Buck's."

The Jump Racing Awards were held jointly by the BHA and Irish Turf Club, and saw the announcement of Anglo-Irish Classifications, where horses are given a mark to recognise their achievements.

While Kauto Star topped the ratings on 190, Imperial Commander was rated 185 for his Gold Cup victory, the third highest mark ever given, and Cheltenham runner-up Denman scored 182 for his weight-carrying win in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

The Racing for Change Order of Merit kicked off the formal presentations with Mick Meagher, racing manager to owner Trevor Hemmings, collecting the £100,000 prize for Albertas Run's dual Grade One-winning campaign.


2010 Jump Racing Awards

Horse of the Year - Big Buck's (174)
Novice hurdler - Peddlers Cross/Menorah (151)
Novice chaser - Sizing Europe/Tataniano (160)
Two-mile hurdler - Big Buck's
Two-and-a-half-mile hurdler - Big Buck's
Two-mile chaser - Big Zeb (174)
Two-and-a-half-mile chaser - Albertas Run (168)
Three-mile chaser - Kauto Star (190)



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see also
Big Buck's cruises to Hurdle win
18 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy ends wait for National win
11 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Imperial Commander lands Gold Cup
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Four cheers for Kauto Star
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Denman claims historic Hennessy
28 Nov 09 |  Horse Racing
Jockey McCoy picks up 15th title
24 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Nicholls hails stellar Kauto Star
19 May 09 |  Horse Racing


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