Philip Hobbs looking forward to returning to Sandown with Defi Du Seuil for Betfair Tingle Creek Chase

Defi Du Seuil ridden by Barry Geraghty Julian Herbert PA Wire PA Images

Defi Du Seuil ridden by Barry Geraghty. (Pic: Julian Herbert PA Wire / PA Images courtesy of Cheltenham racecourse).

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:

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PHILIP Hobbs is keeping his options open regarding plans for stable star Defi Du Seuil who heads the betting for the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The six-year-old faces a maximum of seven rivals in the two-mile contest for which he is clear favourite at 6-4, from nearest market rivals Un De Sceaux (7-2) and Politologue (4-1).

Defi Du Seuil booked his place in Sandown’s showpiece chase when justifying favouritism to win the Grade 2 two miles Shloer Chase on his seasonal comeback at Cheltenham on November 17, finishing a length and a quarter ahead of second placed Politologue.

The victory was the 12th win in a career spanning 18 starts for the dual Cheltenham Festival winner whose five Grade 1 wins are highlighted by the 2017 JCB Triumph Hurdle and the two and a half miles JLT Novices’ Chase at this year’s Festival.

Defi Du Seuil bagged a Grade 1 win on his sole start at Sandown in February and Hobbs is relishing his return to the Esher racecourse.

“I’m looking forward to it. He is still only six and he could be better over a longer trip, but we don’t know that yet so there is plenty of room to improve further, but he is already a very high class performer,” Hobbs said of his charge who won the Grade 1 888Sport Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown earlier this year.

“I am sure he would stay further. When he won at the Cheltenham Festival this year it was over two and a half miles, so that will not be a problem.

“However, the two-mile division at the moment looks a bit the weaker division. He has got plenty of speed for two miles, so it makes sense to aim for the Tingle Creek.

“I think really you take every race one after another and reassess afterwards. We will run him at the best trip we think he is effective at and it will depend a bit on the opposition and what is turning up as well,” the Minehead trainer said when speaking to Racing TV.

At Cheltenham last month, the J P McManus-owned gelding disputed a close second under Barry Geraghty, before being ridden after the last fence to lead for the final 120 yards and keeping on strongly to assert towards finish of the two-mile contest.

The courageous manner of the victory impressed the winning jockey: “I love this fella but this is such a great game, it’s great fun,” Geraghty said immediately after the race. “Defi Du Seuil was so brave at the second last – deadly, deadly – and was good at the last as well. Good horses get you up in the morning.

“I didn’t have an option at the second last, it was the stride I was on, so he needed to come for me and he was brave. I would say he got a little frightened in the process but he didn’t show at the last, when he was good and committed.

“He is brilliant, just a great attitude, and Philip does a brilliant job with him. For a horse who isn’t that big, he has a lot of scope and a lot of heart.”

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.