World tilt likely for More Of That
Jonjo O'Neill still hopes to have More Of That primed and ready to perform at the Cheltenham Festival.
By Will Hayler
Last Updated: 11/02/14 4:41pm
More Of That remains a fascinating potential contender for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle next month, despite there still being some uncertainty as to whether he will make the final line-up.
Speaking to SkySports.com at the unveiling of the weights for the Crabbie's Grand National, for which O'Neill has a team of seven possible runners, the trainer offered an update on some of his Cheltenham possibles.
"I'd ideally have preferred to get another run into More Of That, but I didn't want to run him at Haydock this weekend on ground that would pull the guts out of him," said O'Neill, of the unbeaten JP McManus-owned perfomer.
"I haven't really discussed which race he might go for at Cheltenham with JP but my feeling is that if I want to run him in the World Hurdle, he won't try and stop me. He has At Fishers Cross for that race as well, but I think he'd be as happy to have two runners as one.
"He had an easy time for a bit after his last win, but he's back cantering now and he seems in good order.
"I don't know how solid the form of his last race was, and I'd have preferred to have given him some more experience over hurdles, because he can get the odd one wrong, but he's a good horse."
Taquin Du Seuil, who holds entries in three novice chases at the Festival, is most likely to go for the JLT over two and a half miles, according to O'Neill.
"I would say that's the most likely option at this stage, although if it was really testing we might consider the Arkle," he said. "He did it well at Haydock last time and I'm pleased with him.
"We've got Shutthefrontdoor in the RSA Chase and the National Hunt Chase and he could go for either of those.
"Goodwood Mirage was very disappointing last time, but if the ground starts to improve he could still run in the Triumph - that's the race he was bought for!
"He was very free last time and the surprising thing about that was that he's never shown any sign of that at home. It can't have been his true form and hopefully a bit of better ground will help him."
As for O'Neill's hopes of winning the Grand National for a second time in four years, the trainer earmarked Sunnyhillboy, narrowly denied by Neptune Collonges two years ago, as his most likely candidate.
"We know he likes the place and it's just a case of trying to get him there right on the day," he said. "He came back from his win at Cheltenham with an injury and he's only been doing little bits and pieces since. Ideally it would be good to get a run into him, maybe at Cheltenham, but he'd only be 50/50 to be ready in time.
"Burton Port is the other interesting one. I've had his wind done since his run at Cheltenham, where he really disappointed me.
"AP said he wasn't really happy with him in the race and that he hadn't been mad keen about going out for another circuit passing the stands, but he missed three hurdles out and that's just not what you would expect of a horse with his experience so I'm hoping it was a wind issue that we might now have sorted out.
"He's entered at Haydock this weekend, but whether we'd want to run him in bottomless ground I'm not sure, as it might not really tell us much.
"He's got a bit of class about him though and it would be great to get him back."