Big Buck's & Ruby Walsh
©Healy Racing Photos
Owner Andy Stewart is hoping his brilliant stayer Big Buck's might return from injury at Newbury in late November.
The Long Distance Hurdle, which Big Buck's has won for the last four years, could be pencilled in for the comeback run of the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding should all go to plan.
The 10-year-old was ruled out for the rest of this campaign shortly after taking his winning streak to 18 when lifting the extended three-mile contest at Newbury earlier this season.
Big Buck's was found to have a tendon injury and connections decided to take the safe option and put him away, missing out on a bid to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle for a fifth time at Cheltenham next month.
Stewart said: "We will shed a tear on the Thursday of Cheltenham on the basis of the absence of Big Buck's, but he's absolutely fine.
"I felt if we absolutely wanted to push it we probably could have got him right for Cheltenham, but Paul (Nicholls) and I and Clifford (Baker, head lad) said we didn't want to do it.
"I had Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes with me in Barbados just after Christmas. They were trying to persuade Paul to run him in the Ascot Gold Cup.
"We had a good laugh about that and Richard Hughes said he would ride it. I can say one race he is not going to go for is the Ascot Gold Cup.
"He will be back at Newbury on Hennessy Gold Cup day in November. He is not going to be retired.
"You wouldn't even know now there was anything wrong with him, but we are not going to risk trying to run him in a few weeks' time in the World Hurdle.
"He's not entered and I think it is somebody else's turn this year.
"I've never had a horse like him. He's not showing us that he doesn't want to do it again. He's swimming, he is going on the horse walker and there's nothing wrong with his fetlock now.
"If he doesn't want to do it he won't go tap dancing or be a pantomime horse or anything like that.
"He will have a very happy retirement and be with Cenkos and my other retired horses down in Ditcheat in Paul Barber's field."