Cheltenham Festival: More Of That pips Annie Power in World Hurdle

More Of That (right) ridden by Barry Geraghty won the World Hurdle at Cheltenham racecourse on Thursday.

Story highlights

  • More Of That beats Annie Power to World Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival
  • 11-8 favorite Annie Power finishes second with multiple winner Big Buck's down in fifth
  • Veteran 11-year-old Big Buck's retired after race by trainer Paul Nicholls

It was billed as a clash between emerging jumps superstar Annie Power and one of the best staying hurdlers of all time, Big Buck's.

But in the event, another up-and-comer, More Of That, spoiled the party by capturing the World Hurdle on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Victory extended trainer Jonjo O'Neill's record to three winners this week, while for jockey Barry Geraghty it was yet another winner on a horse that had been rejected by number one jockey A P McCoy -- he scored in the Champion Hurdle on Jezki on Wednesday.

The perennial Champion Jockey, who suffered a horror fall here on Wednesday, plumped for At Fishers Cross, who could do no better than third. 11-8 favorite Annie Power ran a gallant race to finish second.

The only mare in the race, Annie Power initially seemed to be overawed by the occasion, unaccustomed to the roar of a 60,000 capacity crowd in her ears. But she was soon settled by jockey Ruby Walsh and sat comfortably towards the back of the field.

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As the business end of the race approached, she was maneuvered to within striking distance of Big Buck's, but when it became apparent that the threat was going to come not from Sam Twiston-Davies's mount but from the J P McManus runners, At Fishers Cross and More of That, she was switched by Walsh to the outside.

As the final flight loomed Annie Power and More Of That rose together but on the long run to the winning post More Of That was able to find greater reserves of stamina.

Trainer O'Neill was full of praise for the six-year-old.

"We were very pleased with the horse and he was in great old form," O'Neill said.

"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."

Big Buck's had become virtually synonymous with this race, having won four of the last five editions (he missed 2013 through injury).

Regarded by many as one of the best staying hurdlers of all time, Big Buck's had failed to make a fairy-tale comeback from injury this season and only managed fifth place today.

The 11-year-old was immediately retired after this 40th race and took a victory lap of the parade ring to rapturous applause.

A visibly moved Paul Nicholls, trainer of Big Buck's, concluded: "You have got to be sensible and draw stumps at the right time and this is the right time."

Read more: Thoroughbred therapy on Cape Town's coast

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