Bula Owned by Charles Purcell and trained by Fred Winter at Uplands Stables in Lambourn, Berkshire, Bula earned a Timeform Annual Rating of 176, making him one of the highest-rated hurdlers since the early Sixties. Despite being a ‘stubborn so-and-so’, according to stable staff, he made a flying start to his hurdling career and remained unbeaten in his first 13 starts throughout the 1969/70 and 1970/71 seasons.

During that unbeaten streak, Bula made his first appearance at the Cheltenham Festival, justifying favouritism in the second division of the Gloucestershire Hurdle – now the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – in 1970 to take his career record to 6-6. Bula returned to the Cheltenham Festival in 1971 for his first attempt at the Champion Hurdle; he was, once again, sent off favourite, having already beaten the three-time winner, and defending champion, Persian War, in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on his previous start. In the closing stages, his trademark turn of foot was seen to good effect as he stormed ahead in the closing stages to beat Persian War by four lengths.

Despite losing his unbeaten record on his reappearance in 1971/72, Bula successfully defended his Champion Hurdle title in 1972, justifying odds-on favouritism with a comfortable eight-length victory. In 1973, he was again sent off at odds-on to win his third consecutive Champion Hurdle, but came under pressure on the approach to the second-last flight and eventually laboured home in fifth place, albeit not beaten far, behind Comedy Of Errors.

Sent over fences at a relatively late stage of his career in 1973/74, Bula nevertheless soon established himself as a top-class steeplechaser. In 1974/75, he made his first attempt to become the first horse to complete the Champion Hurdle – Cheltenham Gold Cup double. On nigh on unraceable ground, he held every chance approaching the final fence, but a bad mistake put paid to his chance and he finished a tired third behind Ten Up. He tried again in 1976, when sent off favourite, but ran a lacklustre race and finished only sixth behind Royal Frolic. Bula made one final appearance Cheltenham Festival in 1977, falling, when favourite, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase; sadly, he failed to recover from an injury sustained in the fall and was euthanised two months later.