Hobbs leaves no stone un­turned as Defi de­liv­ers

Evening Times - - SPORT -

WHEN Philip Hobbs walked out of Chel­tenham last Novem­ber, he was left won­der­ing where he stood with Defi Du Seuil – but that feel­ing was very dif­fer­ent on Sun­day, with his sta­ble star mak­ing a tri­umphant re­turn in the Shloer Chase.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing last of five in the Arkle Trial 12 months ago, with a dis­play that left much to be de­sired, it looked as though the JP McManus-owned six-year-old was car­ry­ing a hang­over from a sea­son in the wilder­ness, putting his ca­reer at a cross­roads.

Keen to avoid a re­peat, the Mine­head han­dler made sure he used that per­for­mance as a les­son to take the nec­es­sary steps ahead of Defi Du Seuil’s come­back vic­tory, one which ad­ver­tised his cre­den­tials for the Queen Mother Cham­pion Chase in March.

Hobbs said: “We learnt a bit from 12 months ago, be­cause he has had two days away. It was his first chase when he came here last year and that was a bit dif­fer­ent for him. He bal­looned a few that day and we tried to make sure he was right this time by tak­ing him away school­ing and two race­course gal­lops as well.

“We hardly ever take a horse for a race­course gal­lop, but we didn’t want him com­ing here need­ing the run.

“If a horse needs a first run of the sea­son it doesn’t nor­mally mat­ter, but with him it’s a bit dif­fer­ent.”

Hav­ing watched Defi Du Seuil con­quer all be­fore him as ju­ve­nile be­fore suf­fer­ing a dis­ap­point­ing sec­ond sea­son over hur­dles, Hobbs never lost faith that he would get back on track.

He sub­se­quently did, with his resur­gence high­lighted by two Grade One vic­to­ries over fences last term – in­clud­ing back at the Fes­ti­val in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

Hobbs said: “We all know it is dif­fi­cult for horses in their sec­ond sea­son af­ter they have won the Tri­umph Hur­dle.

“At the end of the day it is a bit be­hind us now – he did very well over fences last sea­son and now this sea­son so far. He has the most fan­tas­tic at­ti­tude and is re­ally tough and very gen­uine and you can’t say that about many of them.”

Race horse trainer Philip Hobbs

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.