More of That surged to victory at Cheltenham on Thursday in what is sure to be remembered as one of the vintage all time renewals of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Generally the third favourite in the betting markets, More of That settled towards the rear of the World Hurdle field before powering into the straight and picking his rivals off one by one for jockey Barry Geraghty, before partaking in a stretch-run battle with the heavily favoured Annie Power.
"I was always happy with my fellow, and while I coul dsee Ruby coming on the favourite, I was always confident mine could find more" said Geraghty, who was winning his second race this week in the second colours of owner J P McManus, "When I gave him a squeeze he had more in reserve. It;s only his fifth run and to have jumped and travelled the way he did was remarkable. He was a bit innocent when he hit the front but he kept going and stayed really well.".
Both More of That and Annie Power entered this season's World Hurdle with their undefeated records on the line, but it was More of That who was able to retain his undefeated record in the most superb of fashions.
Like the four-time winning champion Big Buck's, More of That had initially been thought of as more of a steeplechasing prospect, with connections considering skipping the World Hurdle this season in favour of beginning a steeplechase career next season, but a decision to run in this race - in which he was overlooked by McManus' retained rider A P McCoy in favour of At Fishers Cross - was made late on and reaped the rewards for his connections.
"We were very pleased with the horse and he was in great form," said winning trainer, Jonjo O'Neill. "He is still a big frame of a horse who is coming to himself, he doesn't show a lot at home - he never does anything flash but once he is healthy in himself he shows us that he is a proper horse."
The race also marked the timely retirement of the four-time winner Big Buck's, whom after finishing fifth in this season's renewal off a lengthy injury absence was retired on the spot by connections.
A superb servant to the National Hunt game, Big Buck's was paraded around the winners' enclosure to rapturous applause from the thousands that had flocked to Cheltenham in hope that he could gain a fifth World Hurdle crown this year.
Whilst Big Buck's did not achieve that victory many had hoped, he exited a superb four time winner of the race, giving his all until the very last finishing line. Despite beginning to fade in the stretch, Big Buck's responded late on to finish with heart and determination in a creditable fifth place.
"This horse has been a legend and we don't want him to get hurt or something like that, so we are going to end on a good note," said trainer Paul Nicholls. "We are mightily proud of him, and he has run a good race today but just has not had the legs of old. We had to try it but you have got to be sensible and draw stumps at the right time. We are not going to ask him to do any more."