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Jonjo O’Neill's More Of That wins Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival
MORE OF THAT upstaged the unbeaten Annie Power to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival - as four-time victor Big Buck’s was retired.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained sixyear- old jumped the last alongside the ten-time winning mare and, despite a dashing duel up the runin, repelled her challenge to win by a length and a half.
Annie Power was sent off the 11-8 favourite but had no excuses as More Of That (15-2), ridden by Barry Geraghty, simply outstayed her up the Prestbury Park hill.
At Fishers Cross, last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner, was five lengths further back in third.
But it was the end of the road for Big Buck’s.
His trainer Paul Nicholls announced it was time to “draw stumps” on the career of his fantastic 11-year-old after he could only finish fifth.
Having returned from more than a year off the track to claim third in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January, a defeat which brought a winning run of 18 hurdle races to an end, jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was hard at work on the jumping legend three from home.
He stuck at it right to the line but Nicholls said: “Andy (Stewart, owner) and I have been talking about it and I couldn’t improve him any more on what he’s done today.
“We won’t ask him to run again as he’s been a wonderful horse and wonderful for racing.”
Winning trainer O’Neill, meanwhile, was thrilled with More Of That’s performance.
He said: “We were very pleased with the horse and he was in great old form.
“He was just coming along nicely.
“He doesn’t show a lot at home.
He is a really placid horse and he goes about his business and never does anything flash.
“I have never really worked him hard at home and he does his winning that way. Once he is healthy in himself, he shows us that he is a proper horse.
“Jumping the last, I thought he would keep galloping.
“I had a little doubt in my mind that Annie Power might not quite get home but she gave us a fair fright.”
Annie Power’s trainer, Willie Mullins, believed his mare was just beaten by a better horse.
“We were in a good position at all stages and I don’t have any excuses,” he said.
“She jumped very well. I can’t say that she made a mistake, got penned in or anything like that. It was a good horse race.”
Dynaste put the disappointment of Festival defeat a year ago behind him when running out a classy winner of the Ryanair Chase.
The eight-year-old grey, trained by David Pipe, was a red hot favourite in last year’s JLT Novices’ Chase but could only claim the runners-up spot behind Benefficient.
Sent off as the 3-1 favourite this time, he put his old rival in his place as he stayed on strongly for jockey Tom Scudamore to beat Hidden Cyclone by two and a quarter lengths.
“I came here thinking he was a certainty 12 months ago but there’s no such thing at the Festival,” the rider said.
“I was able to bide my time and he’s jumped really well.
“The only point where I thought they’d got away from me was at the third last where he made a little mistake.
“He’s just a very good horse. He gives you the confidence to just get on with it.
“I just have to point him in the right direction and hold on tight.”
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