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More Of That mishap blows World Hurdle open for Lieutenant Colonel

| 13.02.2015

The World Hurdle market has an entirely different complexion in the wake of news that last year’s winner and long-time 2015 ante-post jolly More Of That is now an ‘unlikely runner’.

As a result the betting must be reassessed in the search for ante-post value.

Jonjo O’Neill’s stayer had been steadfast at around 7/2 favourite for the Cheltenham Festival’s Thursday feature despite blowing up on his sole run of the season and his yard’s subsequent lengthy winless streak.

However, the 2014 champion was reported on Wednesday to have suffered a setback that has seen him drift out to 5/1 for the World Hurdle.

O’Neill described the events that have thrown the cat among the 3m championship pigeons to the Racing Post as follows:

“As part of his build up to Cheltenham, More Of That galloped at Compton this morning with AP [McCoy] in the saddle and pleased everyone with his work.

“But when he returned to the yard he was found to have bled and as things stand I would have to say that he is now an unlikely runner at Cheltenham as time is not on our side.”

When it comes to alternatives that still look attractively priced with this potentially important information in the bank, Lieutenant Colonel must rank highly on any shortlists.

The Sandra Hughes-trained 10/1 shot’s second consecutive victory over 2014 Punchestown World Hurdle winner Jetson looks classy form.

Leopardstown’s Christmas Hurdle over 3m saw the pair throw down from some way out, with Lieutenant Colonel never looking remotely like being out-stayed by his more battle-hardened companion.

Five lengths behind them, the presence of Monksland, At Fishers Cross, Glens Melody, Dedigout and Zaidpour gave the race a real championship feel.

Since then Monksland was just touched off by Dedigout in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle over 3m at Gowran Park, while Glens Melody scored in effortless fashion in mares listed company last time out.

Sixth of 15 behind Faugheen in last season’s Neptune Novices Hurdle at the Festival, he ran well before being tapped for toe and looked far form inconvenienced by the testing Prestbury Park undulations.

Neither is ground quicker than that which he scored on over Christmas (soft) expected to hinder his chances, with the six-year-old winning two of his three starts on yielding ground and coming second in the other.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Thomas Reynolds