Connections are unsure of Defi Du Seuil's Ascot disappointment but offer positive bulletin ahead of Kempton run
Connections are unsure of Defi Du Seuil's Ascot disappointment but offer positive bulletin ahead of Kempton run

Connections of Defi Du Seuil say he will race in the Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton on Saturday as he seeks to get back to winning ways. 

The JP McManus owned-gelding was primed for big things two years ago when he won the Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot in fine fashion, finishing two and three-quarter lengths clear of Un De Sceaux. 

Top targets were predicted for the eight-year-old who is trained by Philip Hobbs but it has been a real struggle since, with the horse flopping in his last four starts. 

He was fourth out of five in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2020 and another disappointing run at Cheltenham and then Ascot followed. 

In his seasonal reappearance in November — his first run after a wind operation — he was well off the pace in the Grade Two Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase back at Ascot, where he trailed Lostintranslation by 35 lengths. 

Despite recent poor performance, Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, says Hobbs has been happy with Defi Du Seuil's progress. 

He said: "The plan is to go to Kempton. [We're] not sure if he badly needed his run at Ascot. Philip thought he was in good order. 

"We'll see how he gets on on Saturday and see where we go after that. He needs to get to somewhere near where he was. 

"Philip seems happy with him but he was quite happy before he went the last day. Whether he got tired on his first run back or what, we'll know more after Saturday." 

Paul Nicholls is set to be relying on Rouge Vif
Paul Nicholls is set to be relying on Rouge Vif

Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls will be looking to rely upon Rouge Vif to provide the goods as he seeks to win the race for a third straight year. 

King George winner Frodon took the spoils two years ago while Master Tommytucker was the winner last year. 

The latter has been entered in Saturday's race, but Nicholls admits he is likely to pull him out in order to run in the inaugural Winter Million Chase at Lingfield. 

That means hopes are pinned upon Grade Two winner Rouge Vif. 

The champion trainer said: "I've put two in the Silviniaco Conti but looking at the forecast it looks a dry week, so the intention at the moment would be to run Rouge Vif at Kempton.

"I suspect we will leave Master Tommytucker for the new two-mile-six race at Lingfield the following weekend as he loves the testing ground."

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