Cheltenham Festival 2015 latest: More Of That out of World Hurdle
More Of That ruled out of World Hurdle:
Connections revealed today that More Of That will not defend his World Hurdle crown at next month’s Cheltenham Festival .
Nothing has gone right for the seven-year-old this season, who lost his unbeaten record on his only run of the current campaign at Newbury.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding underwent a breathing operation after that defeat, and was seemingly on the comeback trail until it emerged two weeks ago that he had bled following a piece of work.
It was then a race against time to get More Of That to the Festival, but O’Neill is still not 100% happy with him and today admitted defeat and ruled him out for the rest of the season.
More Of That had been 5/1 with Coral to retain his crown. Annie Power, who also holds an entry in the Mares’ Hurdle, is now the 4/1 favourite for the 3m contest in which Coral are offering the security of NRNB.
The Paul Nicholls trained pair of Saphir De Rheu and Zarkandar are next best in at 9/2 and 5/1 respectively.
Walsh believes Champagne’s course form a major plus:
Jockey Ruby Walsh believes Champagne Fever’s course form will be an asset when he lines-up at the Cheltenham Festival, presumably in the Queen Mother Champion chase for which he is currently 5/1 with Coral.
The Willie Mullins-trained grey won the Champion Bumper in 2012 and the Supreme Novices ‘Hurdle in 2013 before finishing runner-up in last year’s Arkle.
Walsh today told Racing UK: “There are a few class horses in there – Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy. They are very good horses and both have had difficult campaigns.
“Dodging Bullets is the standard bearer and Mr Mole is a massive improver, but Champagne Fever’s record over two miles is very good – two from three and he was impressive last week so in what looks an open enough contest, he’d be a very good ride.”
God’s Own heads straight to the Festival:
God’s Own will not take up an entry at Doncaster on Friday and instead head straight to the Cheltenham Festival for a crack at either the Arkle or JLT Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old won at the Punchestown Festival last May, but the timing of that meeting meant he still qualified as a novice for this season.
The consistent grey beat Cue Card and Balder Succes in the Haldon Gold Cup but has since failed to match that form on soft ground the Tingle Creek at Sandown and Wayward Lad Chase at Kempton.
Trainer Tom George is yet to decide which option God’s Own will take up at the Festival – providing that the going is suitable.
Coral make God’s Own a 33/1 shot for the Arkle and a 14/1 chance for the JLT.