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More Of That proves to be world beater

More Of That outstayed Annie Power up the famous Cheltenham hill to claim the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Big Buck's back in fifth and subsequently retired.

Barry Geraghty walks More Of That to the winners enclosure after winning the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Picture: PA
Barry Geraghty walks More Of That to the winners enclosure after winning the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Picture: PA

Tony McCoy appeared to have dealt a hammer blow to More Of That's chances a couple of weeks ago by choosing to ride At Fishers Cross, who eventually finished third, and the winner's participation was only confirmed at declaration time.

Punters were not deterred, however, and he was sent off the 15-2 third-favourite in the hands of Barry Geraghty, who for the second time this week benefited from McCoy making the wrong choice. Plenty still held chances at the bottom of the hill, but it was left to the two unbeaten young guns to fight it out, with More Of That, having just the fifth run of his life, powering to glory.

The trainer Paul Nicholls immediately announced the retirement of 11-year-old Big Buck's, the four-time winner of the race who only returned from injury in January.

Geraghty said of More Of That: "It's great. AP was the first to congratulate me, there's no hard feelings; he's a true professional. He's a good horse. I was always happy. Ruby [Walsh, on Annie Power] was upsides me in the straight and he looked to be travelling and when he gave her a squeeze, the response was okay but I thought I had enough in reserve. It's only his fifth run. He jumped and travelled away. He was a bit innocent when he got to the front, a bit unsure but he kept going."

Big Buck's was taken straight to the stables following the race, but after his retirement was confirmed, the ever-popular runner returned to the paddock to say farewell with one last walk around the ring.

Nicholls said: "Andy [Stewart, owner] and I have been talking about it and I couldn't improve him any more on what he's done today. We won't ask him to run again as he's been a wonderful horse and wonderful for racing."

Stewart said: "The great horse is not as great as he was when a nine-year-old. He had 420 days off [before returning in the Cleeve Hurdle] and he's obviously not sparkling any more. At Fishers Cross beat him in the Cleeve and has done so again and I think he is finding the years getting to him.

"He's probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, staying hurdler of all-time, and it's time to enjoy his retirement. He's been great for the public, great for racing."

Ruby Walsh said of Annie Power: "She was keen early and I didn't get her 100% switched off. I probably got in a battle too early and picked the wrong McManus horse to follow."

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