Impressive Defi Du Seuil beats rival Un De Sceaux to claim his seventh grade one success at Ascot
- He strengthened his case for running in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
- Defi Du Seuil beat Un De Sceaux in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase
- His winning margin was two-and-three-quarter lengths on Saturday
Defi Du Seuil strengthened his case for running in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March with a decisive win from Un De Sceaux in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
The Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old had hung on by a head when beating Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month but his winning margin on Saturday was two-and-three-quarter lengths after impressing between the last two fences.
Defi Du Seuil is 2-1 favourite for the two-mile Champion Chase. He will also have an entry for the longer Ryanair Chase but it is hard to see him running in that race, especially with two of his main rivals — dual Champion Chase winner Altior and Chacun Pour Soi — both having something to prove this season.
Defi Du Seuil claimed a decisive win in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot
Hobbs, who won the 2002 Champion Chase with Flagship Uberalles, said: ‘We were hopeful he would win again but I did not imagine he would win that easily. Maybe he could have done with a stronger pace but he travelled and jumped well throughout.
‘It wasn’t the plan to be in front when he was but he had no option. I suppose with the pace he showed there, the Champion Chase is a bit more likely.’
Defi Du Seuil, who is owned by JP McManus, has now won seven Grade One races, with two of them — the 2017 Triumph Hurdle and last season’s JLT Novices’ Chase — at the Cheltenham Festival.
Jockey Barry Geraghty said: ‘It wasn’t the plan to be there [in front] so early, but he absolutely flew it and landed running and away he went. Philip thought he had really improved since Sandown — and he felt a better horse at Sandown than he did last season. He felt really sharp today — he was spring-heeled at the second-last and put it to bed.”
Veteran Un De Sceaux, now 12 years old and with 10 Grade Ones in the bag, including three wins in the Clarence House Chase, received an appreciative round of applause from the Ascot crowd.
With the testing ground in his favour, he was sent off 11-10 joint favourite, and trainer Willie Mullins said: ‘The winner has improved from his last run and we didn’t. I was disappointed. [Jockey] Paul Townend said he didn’t fire.’