Hobbs hopes for rain to help Defi Du Seuil
In-form Philip Hobbs is one of many trainers praying for more rain so he can unleash Defi Du Seuil over fences.
The Minehead-based handler endured a poor season last term, but he has begun the current campaign very well.
Defi Du Seuil went through his juvenile season unbeaten, winning the Triumph Hurdle by five lengths and following up at Aintree.
However, he never looked himself in two runs last term, finishing well-beaten at Ascot in November and in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.
The J P McManus-owned five-year-old is now set to go novice chasing. Hobbs said: “He’s ready to run as soon as we get a nice amount of rain.
“He will head to a novice chase somewhere, it’s just a case of wherever has enough rain. His schooling has been very good so far.”
Trainer Colin Tizzard has raised the exciting prospect of Thistlecrack taking on stablemate Native River in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on November 24.
The 2016 King George winner has had three races since his biggest success over fences without tasting any further glory in what has been an injury-hit couple of years.
On his most recent outing in last year’s King George, though, he was a respectable fourth behind Might Bite, beaten less than six lengths.
While he has been given handicap options in the BetVictor Gold Cup and the Ladbrokes Trophy, Dorset-based Tizzard feels a level weights contest, which will mean a clash with Gold Cup winner Native River and possibly Might Bite, will suit him best.
“He’s fit and well, and we will probably go to Haydock,” Tizzard told the Daily Mirror.
“We’ve entered him in some handicaps, but that is to cover all bases in case the ground stops us. He doesn’t need it heavy – as long as it’s softer than good.”
Trainer Nicky Henderson is not ruling out the possibility of Altior making his return to action in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday week.
The brilliant eight-year-old missed the first half of last season after undergoing wind surgery, but returned as good as ever in the spring to claim a third Cheltenham Festival success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Altior has not been seen in competitive action since winning his second Celebration Chase at Sandown in April, but his comeback is imminent.
Berkshire-based Henderson is considering whether to run at Cheltenham next week or head straight for the Tingle Creek back at Sandown on December 8. He said: “He will probably get entered for the Shloer Chase and we will talk about it, but it is possible he will just head to the Tingle Creek.”