Defi Du Seuil (left) is a best-priced 4-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 9:52AM 3 FEB 2017
PHILIP HOBBS does not see quicker ground as a problem for his ante-post JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Defi Du Seuil, with the trainer confident his star juvenile can handle a faster surface at the spring festivals.
Five simple wins this winter, including three at Cheltenham and one by 13 lengths in the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow, have earned the JP McManus-owned four-year-old his place at the head of the market.
He is a best-priced 4-1, and as short as 3-1, with Charli Parcs – who is in the same ownership and therefore under consideration for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to avoid a clash – the only other runner shorter than 9-1.
But aside from his first win at Ffos Las in October on ground described as good – he only needed to run to a Racing Post Rating of 105 to win that day (achieved 150 at Chepstow) – he has done all his racing on good to soft and soft ground.
However, Hobbs does not see the likely quicker ground at the spring festivals as an issue.
Speaking to the Racing Post as ace tipster Pricewise evaluated the Triumph Hurdle market in Friday’s paper, he said: “It was always the plan not to run him again after last Saturday’s race at Cheltenham and he has come out of that win in good shape.
“He has plenty of experience after winning five for us now and hopefully he’s still improving. We know he goes on the soft, but quick ground at the festival would be an unknown for him. I don’t envisage it being a problem.”
The trainer of Evening Hush, the horse beaten 13 lengths by Defi Du Seuil in that Chepstow Grade 1 while in receipt of a 7lb sex allowance, paid further compliment to the favourite.
Evan Williams said: “I thought she was a Grade 1 horse until she got blown off the park by Defi Du Seuil at Chepstow last time. Before that I thought she was good enough to finish in the first three in an average Triumph Hurdle, but it’s not an average Triumph this year. She’s a possible runner, but only as there is nowhere else to go with her off a mark of 142.”
Read more from Nicky Henderson on Charli Parcs, Willie Mullins on Bapaume and the connections of all the leading contenders for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and find out who Pricewise has tipped for the race only in Friday’s Racing Post – also available on iPad