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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Stewart plays down Quevega clashHeadlines
Big Buck's

Owner Andy Stewart believes it is "highly unlikely" a dream clash between Big Buck's and star mare Quevega will happen.

The incredible Big Buck's barely came off the bridle when securing his 18th consecutive victory in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday and he is already odds-on to win the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for a remarkable fifth year on the bounce.

With challengers to his crown few and far between, some have suggested the Willie Mullins-trained Quevega should tackle the mighty stayer, but the champion trainer insisted on Sunday she would be bidding for a fifth successive Cheltenham win of her own in March in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle. The only conceivable place the pair could meet is at the Punchestown Festival, but Stewart does not expect his pride and joy to making the end-of-season trip to Ireland.

Stewart said: "Like Willie has said, I think the only way they would meet is if Big Buck's changed sex! Ruby (Walsh) obviously rides Big Buck's and Quevega and I just don't think it will happen.

"Quevega is as good a staying mare as I have seen, but I think it's highly unlikely we would go to Punchestown.

"Willie has said Zaidpour could have a crack at Big Buck's after his good win in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, so we look forward to that. Big Buck's has won 18 races in a row now, certainly none of my other horses have come close to doing that, and we look forward to going to Ascot.

"I think it's unlikely he'll run in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, I don't think there's a lot to be gained by going there, so we'll get him right at his best to try to win a fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Festival. After that we'll look at Aintree, but the dates are compressed this season, so we'll have to see."

Reflecting on Saturday's Newbury romp for Big Buck's, the owner said: "The only thing I would say is that he probably didn't beat a lot, but Ruby was very happy with him and said he never came out of second gear.

"It was a nice comeback for him, he obviously wasn't fully revved up, and that should hopefully leave him spot-on for Ascot on December 22."

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