A RECORD number of entries for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle has been received - a possible link between the departure of Big Buck's this season.
With a total of 61 entries, the field has been left wide open this year as the Paul Nicholls' wonder will not be taking part in the Cheltenham Festival race after sustaining an injury.
Four-time champion Big Buck's has, and always will be, a superstar to watch. But now after his shock departure from the season, I think other trainers have jumped in for a possibility of success.
At least now they know they'll be in for a chance!
Tidal Bay leads the way for Nicholls and is one of a team of six for the Ditcheat trainer - Wonderful Charm and Kauto Stone are also included.
If a Nicholls' horse does win, it will be the fifth consecutive World Hurdle for the yard.
However, I am a fan of Oscar Whisky - I have seen him around the Cheltenham track many times and have always admired watching him. He is definitely a class act and Nicky Henderson may be on to a winner with his entry.
Oscar Whisky is one of seven entries for Henderson and he has raced very well this season.
He always seems to have buzz about him and compared to other Henderson/Nicholls greats, Oscar Whisky, I think, is a dark horse (excuse the pun!)
It is a shame Big Buck's cannot take part but I still believe the World Hurdle will be fantastic to watch at the Festival.
Having a different winner will not hide Big Buck's achievements, but now the contest has opened up I think it will be refreshing to see another champion pass the post.