Defi looks a Triumph contender
Defi Du Seuil maintained his unbeaten record since joining Philip Hobbs with a hard-earned victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Barry Geraghty and Defi Du Seuil clear the last to win the JCB Triumph Juvenile Hurdle from Diable De Sivola as Dino Velvet comes down.
Rain overnight and through the morning had left conditions at Cheltenham officially soft for the start of racing and the going certainly proved attritional for some of those involved.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Wealth Des Mottes never travelled at all, while early pacesetter East Indies dropped out quickly even before the race really began to unwind.
The strong-travelling Dino Velvet took up the running under Wayne Hutchinson two out, but Barry Geraghty was tracking him on the the well-supported 5/4 favourite Defi Du Seuil.
Coming to the last, Geraghty had got the better of that battle by the time that Dino Velvet tired and crashed out at the final flight, but Diable De Sivola and Lizzie Kelly kept the winner honest all the way to the line, only going down by a length and a half
The pair finished 58 lengths clear of Lambeau Field, who got the best of an exhausted battle for third place.
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In victory, Defi Du Seuil earned a 14/1 quote from Sky Bet for next March's Triumph Hurdle.
Hobbs said: "He's a lovely horse at home and everything he does is really nice. It's a big relief to see him come here and do that today.
"He did it very well at Ffos Las. It was a very minor race there, but we were hoping he'd do that today.
"He's a very nice prospect for the future.
"He's done everything well. He always jumps well and has a really good attitude and softer ground will be no problem to him, he's very pleased. Barry (Geraghty) was very pleased.
"I imagine he'll run somewhere before the Festival, but I'm not sure where he might go."
Jane Williams, wife and assistant to Nick Williams, the trainer of runner-up Diable De Sivola, said: "It was a brilliant run.
"I just wished the race had been a bit further. I was very happy with him.
"The McManus horse had a bit more in the tank and we just needed a bit further.
"He's only a three-year-old and we don't want to push him too much. He has a long career ahead of him."
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