Defi completes simple task after Parcs is pulled out late on
Unbeaten hurdler Defi Du Seuil completed a simple task in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial after main market rival Charli Parcs, also owned by JP McManus, was withdrawn less than half an hour before the start of the race.
Defi Du Seuil and Charli Parcs were battling for favouritism at around the even-money mark but racegoers were denied the chance to see the two leading juveniles do battle with the ground deemed too soft for the latter.
In the absence of Charli Parcs, Defi Du Seuil was sent off the 1-5 favourite against three rivals and he won with the minimum of fuss, not needing to come off the bridle to make it five wins from as many starts since joining Philip Hobbs.
Barry Geraghty, who partnered Defi Du Seuil after Charlie Parcs, his intended mount, was withdrawn, said: "The ground is hard work, it's tacky. He jumped okay but I know he can jump better.
"A horse crossed me at the first, which didn't help me. He pinged the last on his last two starts here but that wasn't an option today because the ground is hard work.
"He's very happy on easy ground but the way he travels, I wouldn't see genuine good ground being a problem."
Defi Du Seuil has strengthened his position at the head of the ante-post betting for the Triumph Hurdle and is a top price of 5-1 for the juvenile showpiece.
After the race trainer Nicky Henderson said that Charli Parcs would run in the Triumph Hurdle Trial at Musselburgh next weekend.
Also at Cheltenham
Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase 2m5f, 5yo+
Royal Vacation may have been a fortunate winner of the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but he was a dominant winner of this attritional, incident-packed handicap chase.
A strong pace on testing ground ensured a true test, and it was Royal Vacation who coped best with the demands, winning by eight lengths at 12-1 for trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Paddy Brennan.
Potters Legend stayed on strongly to finish a never-threatening second, while Ibis Du Rheu, who was hampered by the fall of the strong-travelling Mercian Prince three from home, was third.