Defi Du Seuil Champion Hurdle Ante-Post Value at 20-1
Defi Du Seuil – 20-1 William Hill for Champion Hurdle
Last week’s Christmas festival at Leopardstown produced plenty of shocks, the most significant being the demise of 2015 Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen who must be considered a doubtful runner for this year’s renewal following his mystifying performance in the Ryanair Hurdle when being pulled-up by jockey Paul Townsend after jumping the third-last at the rear of the field.
Such is the lack of credible opposition to reigning champion Buveur D’Air that bookmakers make the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding no bigger than 4-6 to record back-to-back victories in the feature race on the opening day of the 2018 Cheltenham festival. The fact that the next two horses in the ante-post market – Melon and Yorkhill – were both beaten on their most recents starts, the latter in a three mile chase, shows just how one-sided the race is beginning to look, even at this early stage.
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With over two months still to go however there is still time for a serious challenger to emerge against Buveur D’Air and the horse who may have been seriously underestimated at the 20-1 available with William Hill is the Philip Hobbs inmate Defi Du Seuil. Like the favourite last season’s impressive Triumph Hurdle winner is owned by JP McManus who has an excellent reserve in the shape of the son of Voix Du Nord who was towards the head of the Champion Hurdle betting before blotting his copybook on his seasonal reappearance.
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Winner of his first seven starts over the smaller obstacles the five-year-old looked to have a fairly straightforward task in an effort to make it eight from eight when sent off the 10-11 favourite for Ascot’s Coral Hurdle in November but could finish only fourth of five. Looking as though he would come on for the run in the preliminaries it is probably best to put a line through the performance as the gelding still has the potential to prove up to Champion Hurdle class.
With another McManus candidate My Tent Or Yours having finished runner-up in the last three Champion Hurdles it is hard to see the popular gelding breaking his duck at last at the age of eleven while it is hard to get enthusiastic about anything else, a situation which may result in Defi Du Seuil becoming a tremendous value each-way bet should he show his true form prior to the big day in March.