Cheltenham Festival 2014: More Of That eases past lady and the champ to take World by surprise

Big Buck's finally gives best to younger legs and hearts, while Irish mare Annie Power beaten in to second place

cheltenham

In the end, it was neither the champ nor the lady. Of the pair who were supposed to go head to head in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle the latter, the Irish mare Annie Power, fared best in a gallant second place. The former, the 11-year-old Big Buck's, had finally to give best to younger legs and hearts up the testing finish he made his own four times, galloping home in fifth place.

So, hail the new king of the marathon division, More Of That, who belied his lack of experience to take the crown on only his fifth appearance on a racecourse.

And salute his trainer Jonjo O'Neill, who is heading for the best season of his career and has not only More Of That's future to look forward to but also the emerging and potentially sublime talent over fences of Taquin Du Seuil, winner of the afternoon's opening JLT Novices' Chase. Despite the opening-day victory of Holywell in a handicap, it had been something of a frustrating week for the engaging Irishman, with Get Me Out Of Here touched off by a whisker, and much-fancied Goodwood Mirage brought down. But two Grade One prizes were perfect compensation.

More Of That, a 15-2 shot, was the shorter-priced of J P McManus' two World Hurdle runners and carried the second colours. For the second time this week Tony McCoy, who has the pick of those in the green, white and gold, made the wrong call in the feature contest; after second place to Jezki on My Tent Or Yours in the Champion Hurdle, he finished third today on At Fishers' Cross. Such are the frustrations of riding for a string with such an embarrassment of riches.

The beneficiary on both occasions was Barry Geraghty, who produced More Of That to range alongside Annie Power, backed to 11-8 favourite, as the pair drew past At Fishers Cross going to the last. By then, the trailblazers Reve De Sivola and Celestial Halo had given way and Big Buck's, in contention but pushed along from two out, could do no more.

Three miles was unknown distance territory for both the first two and although both saw it out well – they pulled five lengths clear of At Fishers Cross – it was More Of That who did so the better, by a length and a half. "To have jumped and travelled the way he did on only his fifth run was remarkable," said Geraghty. "He was a little bit innocent when he hit the front – a little unsure – but he kept going. I could see Ruby [Walsh, on Annie Power] coming but I was always confident my fellow would find more."

More Of That, a six-year-old by Beneficial, remains unbeaten and is a 2-1 favourite for a World Hurdle repeat next year. He first gave note that he might be something special here in December, when he cosily accounted for Salubrious, a winner at last year's Festival, and Glens Melody, who beat all bar super mare Quevega on Tuesday.

Barry Geraghty celebrates victory in the World Hurdle aboard More Of That, who was running in only his fifth race Barry Geraghty celebrates victory in the World Hurdle aboard More Of That, who was running in only his fifth race (Getty Images)
"After he won last time, the ground got heavy so we gave him a break," said O'Neill. "He's a big frame of a horse who is still coming to himself, and we thought we'd miss the bad weather and wait for this. He doesn't show a lot at home, he's a real placid horse who just goes about his business and doesn't do anything flash, and he does his winning that way too."

It was a second World Hurdle for O'Neill, after Iris's Gift 10 years ago, who also beat a hotshot – Baracouda – and was also ridden by Geraghty. "I was quietly confident that this fellow would show he is a proper horse," added O'Neill. "But if I'd been riding still I'd have stayed with the other horse, like AP did, as he was proven over the trip."

Annie Power's connections were gracious in defeat; the mare is not, after all, the second coming, at least not over hurdles. "No excuses," said trainer Willie Mullins, "It was a good race and we were beaten by a better horse."

After his crunching fall from Goodwood Mirage, McCoy was moving more than gingerly, but tends to regard pain and injury as more of an affront than an inconvenience and rode Taquin Du Seuil with his usual flair and power.

The seven-year-old has long been one of O'Neill's favourites and he justified that faith by responding to his rider's insistence to catch trailblazing outsider Uxizandre in the last few strides to prevail by less than a length.

"This is a really nice horse for the future," said O'Neill of the fluid-moving brown gelding, who carries the colours of Martin Broughton. "After that, there's no reason not to hope he won't be a Gold Cup horse."

McCoy did pick right on this occasion; Uxizandre is owned by McManus, who released him to ride the better-fancied runner. "AP makes all the difference," said O'Neill. "He knows this horse, knows how to give him confidence and I am so pleased to give him a winner this week. I love watching him ride; he's in pain today but he's a magic man who is always in the right place at the right time."

The double for O'Neill, and a pair for David Pipe with Dynaste in the Ryanair Chase and Ballynagour in the Byrne Group Plate, took them level with Mullins at the head of the trainers' leaderboard at three winners apiece here. However, the Irish champion, favourite for the title, still shades it on places going into the final day.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital