Williams out to conquer World
Trainer Nick Williams believes today's Ladbrokes World Hurdle is far from a two-horse race in the absence of the great Big Buck's.
The stayers' championship looks an open affair this term, although Williams' Reve De Sivola and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky top the market after fighting out a great finish to the Cleeve Hurdle on the course in January.
Reve De Sivola edged that one by a neck, having returned after a year off the previous month when chasing home Big Buck's at Newbury. He then landed the Long Walk at Ascot in impressive fashion.
The handler said: "It's a big, open race, it's certainly not a two-horse race, and the Festival has not been a lucky place for us so far. I don't worry too much about the opposition, I just want to get my horse there in one piece.
"I rushed him over fences, really because there aren't the options for the staying hurdlers if you are the third or fourth best and you want to win races. But with hindsight, I should have kept him over hurdles."
Richard Johnson has a 100% record on the eight-year-old so far, having ridden him in his last two starts. He said: "I was very lucky to pick up the ride on him just before Christmas and we've won the Long Walk and the Cleeve. He looks like my best chance of the week."
Peddlers Cross had Reve De Sivola back in second when winning the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle in 2010 and he was runner-up in the Champion Hurdle a year later. He is back over hurdles after mixed fortunes over fences and Donald McCain is adamant the horse retains his ability.
"In both his races this season he's travelled like a very good horse and not done a lot off the bridle, and that's a little bit his way. He can be quite switched off when he hits the front," said the Cheshire handler.
"Is he the same horse he was? His home work is the same and the rest we'll have to find out on the day. The signs at home are positive and Jason (Maguire) was very happy the last day, but there's only one place we'll find out if he's the horse he was."
Tony McCoy is hoping that better ground will help Get Me Out Of Here as he steps up to three miles for the first time. The champion jockey said: "I would have given him a good each-way chance on good ground, but he's run twice on heavy ground this year and run deplorably. He's very ground dependent."