Trainer Jonjo O'Neill has announced that World Hurdle hero More Of that will stay over the small obstacles this season. There has been speculation that the 6-year-old would go chasing this season but connections have decided against that for the time being with the defence of his World Hurdle title now the clear aim.
The JP McManus owned six-year-old was one of the stars of Cheltenham last season as he swept through the campaign unbeaten and he will now bid to become a dual winner of the stayers hurdle crown. Despite his impressive CV, More Of That remains a very lightly raced horse with only five races to his name, all successful, and there is a feeling that he should improve again as he gains more experience.
The form of last season's World Hurdle looks rock solid at this stage with More Of That dispatching the highly touted Annie Power with a little bit in hand on the day. It was a slightly surprising result in the end with AP McCoy choosing to ride At Fishers Cross for McManus but there is no doubt that the Champ will be siding with More Of That wherever he can this time around.
More Of That is a top price 3/1 for the World Hurdle in March and that looks fair given his exploits for the team. Opposition could be tough again this season though with the likes of Annie Power, Briar Hill and Beat That all currently in the stayers hurdle market although it remains to be seen whether any of those horses are aimed at that race come March.
Given that More Of That remains a relatively young horse, few would be surprised if he did in fact go chasing in 12 months time. The lure of a potential tilt at the Gold Cup down the line will be difficult to ignore for Jonjo O'Neill and JP McManus who teamed up to win the Blue Riband contest with Synchronised back in 2012. At the moment though it is hurdling on the agenda for More Of That who will be bidding to join the likes of Baracouda, Inglis Drever and Big Buck's as recent multiple winners of the World Hurdle.