Posted: 11th Nov 2015
More Of That: has been off the track for almost 12 monthsPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
MORE OF THAT, conqueror of Annie Power in the 2014 World Hurdle, returns to Cheltenham on Friday to make his long-awaited debut over fences.
Off the track for almost 12 months following his shock defeat in Newbury's Long Distance Hurdle, More Of That is set to line up in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase on the opening day of the meeting under Barry Geraghty.
Although yet to jump a fence in public, the seven-year-old who rose from 130-rated handicapper to Grade 1 hero during an unbeaten 2013-14 campaign, is generally quoted at 12-1 for the RSA Chase in March.
Subsequent Gold Cup heroes Denman and Imperial Commander are graduates of the 2m4f event that O'Neill has chosen to launch More Of That's new campaign.
Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: "We're looking forward to getting started with him. He has schooled well and Barry has been pleased with him. There are no further plans beyond Friday. Let's just hope we get a clear run with him this time."
Mr Mole to give weight to Sprinter Sacre
Berry also confirmed the Paul Nicholls-trained Mr Mole will face Sprinter Sacre in Sunday's Grade 2 Shloer Chase.
The conditions of the £75,000 race mean Mr Mole, an improved performer last season when his trio of victories included the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, must concede 10lb to Sprinter Sacre despite being rated 5lb inferior on official ratings.
However, one positive is the seven-year-old usually goes well fresh, a point made by Berry.
"Paul is very happy with Mr Mole, and he does run well fresh," Berry said. "He really got his act together last year and did great."
Pipe positive for Palace
The sponsors cut ante-post Paddy Power Gold Cup favourite Kings Palace to 6-1 (from 7) after trainer David Pipe issued an upbeat bulletin.
"Kings Palace is in good form and Tom [Scudamore] schooled him this morning," Pipe said. "He jumped well.
Kings Palace: unbeaten at Cheltenham outside of the FestivalPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
"He'll have a last-minute routine test, but after this morning's schooling session I'm more inclined than I was to go for the Paddy Power."
Other firms reported support for Generous Ransom (14-1 from 20 with William Hill) and Darna (16-1 from 25 with Betfred).
Most bookmakers also cut Totalize for Sunday's StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle - Coral went 10-1 (from 12).
Going is good
The ground at Cheltenham remains good to soft on the chase and hurdles track and good on the cross-country course.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "We've had a bit of drizzle today - nothing significant. It's mild and blustery, with the possibility of some rain on Thursday night."
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