Barry Geraghty's blog

Our star blogger looks forward to partnering former Triumph Hurdle hero and recent Exeter scorer Defi Du Seuil in a red-hot renewal of the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

  • Monday 31 December
  • Blog
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We are all set for the New Year’s Eve celebrations here this evening, but I’m very much looking forward to getting back over to Cheltenham tomorrow for what is always a really good day of racing on New Year’s Day.

My only ride of the day is an exciting one on the Philip Hobbs-trained DEFI DU SEUIL in the Betbright Dipper Novices’ Chase (1.25).

On paper, this could well be the best novice chase run in England so far this season and Defi has to give 3lb away to all his rivals, but I think he has a good chance.

His win at Exeter last time was a real step in the right direction. It was a Graded novice chase in all but name and he won it well. His jumping improved from his chasing debut at Cheltenham and I thought it got better as the race progressed.

While it could be argued that Topofthegame couldn’t show his very best that day after losing ground at the start prior to finishing second, it was encouraging to see him boost the form by finishing a close second in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton last week.

Defi Du Seuil finished 4¼ lengths in front of Black Op at Exeter, but that was Black Op’s seasonal and chasing debut and he is 3lb better off with Defi here, so he is entitled to close the gap in the rematch. That said, given the step forward that Defo took from Cheltenham to Exeter, I’d be hopeful he can improve again.

We felt that Defi still needed a bit more practice after Exeter, so we went back there after the last meeting there and I schooled him over fences. He was very good there and hopefully that extra bit of practice will show at Cheltenham.

His run at Exeter showed that Defi Du Seuil is back to what he was showing as a juvenile hurdler and hopefully he can take a step forward tomorrow.

It won’t be easy for him by any means, as three of his rivals bring a high-class level of novice chase form to the table and On The Blind Side is an exciting chasing debutant being a Grade 2-winning novice hurdler and winning point-to-pointer.

It promises to be a really informative race and hopefully we’ll get a good result.

Barry Geraghty's blog

Cheltenham 13:25, 1 January 2019

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