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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Defi to embark on Champion Hurdle campaign but Hobbs not planning far ahead

Defi Du Seuil surges clear of his rivals in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle
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From beginning to end last season Defi Du Seuil was a joy to watch. After winning a juvenile maiden hurdle at Ffos Las in October he went on to dominate the four-year-old division that culminated in a stunning victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Unbeaten in seven runs over hurdles he is 8-1 second favourite for the Stan James Champion Hurdle and 10-1 favourite for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy. Philip Hobbs brings us up to date with his plans

Where did he spend his holidays?
He went back to JP McManus's Martinstown Stud. They have a good team looking after them there. He left here in April and arrived back late July. He has been back with us for a month.

How did he summer?
He looks fantastic and I am very happy with him. He looks really well and seems in good form.

Defi Du Seuil and Richard Johnson return after winning the Triumph Hurdle

When will we see him again?
His first race is likely to be the [Masterson Holdings] hurdle for four-year-olds at Cheltenham on October 28.  It is the obvious race for him because I think I am right in saying it is the only race for four-year-olds in the autumn which is a conditions hurdle and so not a handicap. It makes a lot of sense to go for that.

What's his long-term objective?
We would like to think we will be going down the Champion Hurdle route but realistically it all depends how he gets on. I always think it is very dangerous to talk about what will happen after the next race before a horse has run. We have a race to aim at but what happens after that race depends how they run. If he is beaten then after Cheltenham you are probably going to have a different plan.

What excites you most about him?
He obviously was some way above the other four-year-olds last season so we hope he is good enough to take on the older horses as well. I think facts are much more important than what you feel. The fact is he is rated 157 and that is not good enough to win the Champion Hurdle but then he has won everything easily so maybe he is better than that. To be honest I don't know anymore than you do. He is a lovely horse who has done everything so far really well. You can't ask for more than that.

We would like to think we will be going down the Champion Hurdle route but realistically it all depends how he gets on
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