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Big Buck's set to miss rest of season

ESPN staff
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Big Buck's has proved in a league of his own over hurdles © PA Photos
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Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has been dealt a huge blow with the news four-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck's is unlikely to race again this season.

Big Buck's made a sparkling return to action at Newbury and was set to take his chance at Ascot this week, but Nicholls found a problem on Monday that is set to curtail his season.

"I am not in a position to go into great detail at this point, but I can confirm that Big Buck's will not be taking up his engagement at Ascot on Saturday," Nicholls wrote on his Betfair column.

The trainer also confirmed leading King George VI fancy Al Ferof is also set to miss the rest of the season.

"Al Ferof will not be running in the King George. And both are unlikely to run again this season," Nicholls said.

Nicholls was reluctant to go into detail but Big Buck's owner Andy Stewart, speaking to the Racing Post, said: "He has a tiny tear in one of his legs, so the best way is to let nature heal that.

"It's just a ridiculous coincidence that Al Ferof has something similar. We're all gutted but it's far too premature to talk about retirement."

Al Ferof's owner John Hales said: "We're certainly talking 12 months off. He has a slight nick in a tendon. The injury could have happened in a million ways. It's a big King George disappointment but he's had a wonderful 2012."

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