NO GROUNDS FOR CONCERN FOR DEFI DU SEUIL IN JLT
I have a smashing first ride of the day on Thursday in the shape of the Philip Hobbs-trained DEFI DU SEUIL in the JLT Novices’ Chase (1.30).
He was just touched off by Lostintranslation when trying give him 3lb at Cheltenham in January, but we reversed that form on level terms at Sandown last time. I don’t think there is much between us, but Defi’s jumping has improved with each start all season and he might well be better again on Thursday.
I wouldn’t worry about the rain that has fallen and this mid-range trip seems to suit him well. He looks to have an excellent chance on the form book and hopefully it will pan out that way.
One of my most exciting rides of the week will be on the Nicky Henderson-trained EPATANTE in theNational Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4.50). Nicky has made no secret of the regard he holds her in and she has been impressive in her two starts to date for him.
While she hasn’t had a huge amount to do in form terms in either of those races, when Nicky really likes one, it pays to take heed. She has taken a bit of a grip in both those starts without being a runaway or anything or that, but Nicky has put a hood on her for the first time and that should help her cope with the occasion.
She has worked and schooled very well in the hood at home. We’ll find out what is under the bonnet on Thursday and hopefully it will prove to be plenty!
I ride the Gordon Elliott-trained SIRE DU BERLAIS in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10).
He has been a bit of a talking horse on the Cheltenham preview circuit, but I sat on him at Gordon’s a few weeks ago and he wouldn’t be the type to set you alight at home. Gordon has put first-time cheekpieces on and hopefully they’ll spark him up a little bit.
I have a ride in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30) on the Alan King-trained YANWORTH. He made his return from almost a year off at Haydock last month and he was running well for a long way until cutting out after the third-last flight.
Alan has put first-time blinkers on him and hopefully they will help him. He has the ability to get involved in this sort of race, it was only two years ago that he was sent off favourite in a Champion Hurdle, but he really needs to put it all together if he is to run well.
My other ride on the day is on the Paul Nicholls-trained MODUS in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (4.10). He had a big day when winning a valuable handicap at Cheltenham in October, but the form of that hasn’t worked out well and he has struggled to compete since.
I hoped he might run a bit better when stepped up to three miles at Kempton last time, but he was beaten well before the longer trip became an issue. He has come back down the weights a bit, but he’d really need to be back to his best to run well.