Last season saw a number of new stars emerge in the National Hunt game and one of those right at the forefront of that revolution was the brilliant More Of That. The Jonjo O'Neill trained horse went unbeaten through the winter before winning the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on just his fifth start. Plenty of experts had written him off before the race in March due to his inexperience but More Of That rose to the challenge in stunning fashion to beat off competition from the likes of Annie Power and At Fishers Cross.
Attention will now turn to the future for More Of That with his connections looking to plan out the best route for one of the most exciting horses currently in training. The JP McManus owned horse is just six years of age and having been on a racecourse just five times in his life, he is open to masses of improvement over the next couple of years. In the latest article of our popular 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like.....' series, we have taken a closer look at the options open to More Of That next season as we countdown towards the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.
Unsurprisingly it is the the World Hurdle that is the most likely destination for More Of That next year with the defence of his crown potentially on the line in 2015. The era of Big Buck's is now well and truly over and it appears that the division is crying out for a superstar to emerge and dominate for the foreseeable future. There is no doubt that More Of That could be the horse to do just that as he showed last March and given that he is so lightly raced, the six-year-old is only likely to improve next season which could make him very difficult to beat if he is aimed at the World Hurdle once again.
While More Of That is likely to improve next season, he can also expect to encounter a stiffer test from the opposition if he does stay over hurdles. Willie Mullins could yet decide to keep Annie Power at the discipline after she chased home More Of That last March. while the Irish trainer also currently has Briar Hill, Hurricane Fly and Faugheen in the ante-post market for the World Hurdle. It remains to be seen which of those does turn up in the stayers hurdle race next March but either way they could provide decent competition for More Of That.
RSA Chase - More Of That @ 5/1 with Bet365
If connections decide to send More Of That over fences next season then the RSA Chase will be his target next March. It is a genuine possibility for such a classy horse and if the owner and trainer believe that the horse could one day win a Gold Cup, the RSA Chase is the first step on that path. This would of course be a slightly more risky option than staying over hurdles but ultimately it could offer the biggest reward down the line, with the Gold Cup still the biggest race in the sport.
The RSA is always a tough race for novice chasers but it has proven to be a great stepping stone to Gold cup success with Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere just three of the recent RSA winners who have gone onto taste Gold Cup glory later in their careers. Other horses who could end up in the RSA Chase next March taking on More Of That include Annie Power, Faugheen and Kings Palace who all have the class to feature if they are sent chasing next season. There is no doubt that More Of That has plenty of stamina which is only likely to improve as he gets older which does bring in the potential for a Gold Cup run at some point in the future.
This is potentially a tricky decision for JP McManus, Jonjo O'Neill and AP McCoy as they look to plot the future of one of the best young horses they currently have. The World Hurdle remains the most likely race for him in 2015 and few would be surprised if he made that race his own in the same way the likes of Big Buck's and Inglis Drever did during their careers. That must be a tempting possibility for connections with Cheltenham winners so hard to come by and that is a race that they already know he can win.
JP McManus has always been a very sporting owner though and there must be some thoughts in his mind that one day More Of That could win a Gold Cup. JP teamed up with McCoy and O'Neill to win the Gold Cup in 2012 with Synchronised and they would surely love to win the biggest race of the season again at some point down the line. McManus might want to persevere with At Fishers Cross as a World Hurdle horse which could see More Of That sent Chasing at some point during his career. Whether or not that is now though is open for debate but few would be surprised to see this talented hurdler change disciplines at some point in the next couple of years.