Grand National 2017, 2017 Randox Health Grand National,Grand National challenge,Aintree Racecourse, Grand National Weights, Aintree Grand National

Grand National 2017: Defi definitely first among juveniles

Defi Du Seuil maintained his unbeaten run over hurdles when landing the G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

He was almost certain to be ranked the top four-year-old hurdler in training before the race, but his game win ended any speculation – ridden by Barry Geraghty in the colours of JP McManus, Defi Du Seuil won by one and a quarter lengths and four and a half lengths from Divin Bere and Bedrock, convincingly enough, if not with the sparkle of some of his victories. The winner, who had landed the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham on his previous start, was sent off the 4/11 favourite.

His trainer, Philip Hobbs, said: “He’s definitely the best juvenile hurdler I’ve trained. We’ve had two other Triumph Hurdle winners [Detroit City and Made In Japan], but this would be the best.

“The plan for next season will be the [Stan James] Champion Hurdle, but we’ve got plenty of time to think about it. He’s very adaptable and massively tough and takes everything very well.

“The thing about juvenile [one-hit] wonders is that they have usually been in training since they were yearlings. This horse had a couple of AQPS bumpers [in France] but that is a bit different to a Flat horse that has been in training for a long time. I would certainly think he will train on and he’s by a Jump stallion [Voix Du Nord].

“He’s got fantastic attitude and he’s a lovely horse to deal with in every way.”


Defi Du Seuil followed up his JCB Triumph Hurdle victory and remains unbeaten on British soil after winning the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle by a length and a half from Divin Bere.

The French-bred gelding is trained by Philip Hobbs, owned by JP McManus and ridden by Barry Geraghty and started the 4/11 favourite.

Geraghty was sidelined through injury during Cheltenham and missed out on riding Defi Du Seuil, but was delighted to be back in the saddle today.

“Defi Du Seuil has been brilliant all season. He was really good at Cheltenham and has done well to come back and win again. That was his seventh win this season – he’s been busy.

“I think he is very good and he is a horse who is going to improve with time. It is very hard for a juvenile to hold the level of form he has all season. Philip [Hobbs] has done a brilliant job.

“The ground is dead. It is probably nearer good to soft than good. It doesn’t need to be any softer.”

He continued: “He travelled nicely and popped away. He’s got loads of scope – I’d say he got in bit of a rush once or twice today, but he measures his hurdles very accurately.

“He’s likely to go the Champion Hurdle route next season, but as he’s so scopey and jumps well, he could jump a fence whenever he’s wanted to.”

Geraghty discussed the chances of his Randox Health Grand National ride, More Of That, saying: “He’ll have to improve on his Cheltenham form. He’s proven his class in the past when he beat Annie Power [in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2014] though and if can find that form again he’d have a great chance.”


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