Cheltenham - At The Races

Barry Geraghty's blog

    Leading jockey Barry Geraghty is aboard last season’s star juvenile hurdler Defi Du Seuil on his first run against older horses in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
  • Friday 24 November 2017
  • Blog

DEFI DU SEUIL SET TO STEP UP IN THE CORAL HURDLE

I am looking forward to riding DEFI DU SEUIL again in the Coral Hurdle (2.40) at Ascot on Saturday.

He was a star last year. He started off by winning on his British debut at Ffos Las in October, he followed up by winning the race that Apple’s Shakira won at Cheltenham’s November meeting last Saturday, and then he went through the season.

He ran in seven races and he won all seven, including the Finale Hurdle at Chepstow, the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree, three Grade 1s.

It was a great training performance by Philip Hobbs, to have him as well as he had him all season. He won in October and in November, twice in December, then in January, March and April. He was the outstanding juvenile hurdler last season.

It is never easy for the juvenile hurdlers when they move out of juvenile company the following season and take on the older horses, but the very good ones can cope with it, and hopefully Defi Du Seuil is one of those.

This is a good starting point for him into the season, better than the Greatwood Hurdle would have been last Sunday, when he would have been carrying plenty of weight on soft ground.

It will be a good test for him though. Lil Rockerfeller was beaten at Wetherby on his debut this season, but he could come on for that, and he was only beaten three parts of a length by Nichols Canyon in the Stayers’ Hurdle in March, when he had Unowhatimeanharry behind him in third.

L’Ami Serge hasn’t run since he won the French Champion Hurdle in June, but that was a good run, he had Shaneshill behind him in third that day, and he was only beaten a neck by Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle in March.

It is a good race, but Defi Du Seuil is well, he’s in good form and Philip is happy with him. He worked well during the week. Hopefully he can make the step up.

My only other ride on the day is on PALMERS HILLin the first race, the Mitie Events & Leisure Novices’ Hurdle (12.20). An easy winner of a point-to-point, he was a good winner of his maiden hurdle on his hurdling debut at Uttoxeter last month.

He travelled well that day, and he stayed on well, and the third horse has won well since. He will have to step forward from that obviously, he is taking on better horses, but he should improve from that, his first run over hurdles.

Take To Heart won his two hurdle races during the summer, making just about all the running on both occasions, Count Meribel is a second-season novice, and he has won his two hurdle races this season, and Polydora won on his hurdling debut at Chepstow at the end of October. It is a good race, but hopefully Palmers Hill can go well.

That’s it for me for the weekend. I am suspended on Sunday so I am not riding at Navan on Sunday, Troytown Chase day. The boss has two runners in the Troytown, Tesseract and Whatareudoingtome.

Tesseract would have a chance if he can put in a clear round. Jumping is the thing for him. He battled on well to win at Wexford last time, and he could appreciate going up in distance, but he is going to have to jump better.
 
Whatareudoingtome didn’t run badly over two and a half miles at Navan in September. He won over three miles and six furlongs at Punchestown in April, so he is another who should appreciate going back up in distance, but it is a very competitive race, as it always is.

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