Hobbs hopes for rain to help Defi Du Seuil

Western Morning News - - Sport - BY GRA­HAM CLARK

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.”

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