Defi Du Seuil faces five rivals as his bids for a second win in Cheltenham’s Shloer Chase.
Philip Hobbs’ stable star is reappearing after a mysterious flop in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March when it appeared he had been left with little more than a penalty kick following the late withdrawals of Altior and Chacun Pour Soi.
However, in just about the only disappointment for the now-retired jockey Barry Geraghty during the 2020 Festival, Defi Du Seuil never looked like winning at any stage and was only fourth to Politologue.
Previously last season, Defi Du Seuil had won Sunday’s race – beating Politologue – the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House, taking his Grade One tally over hurdles and fences to seven.
He faces last year’s impressive Arkle winner Put The Kettle On, from Henry de Bromhead’s yard, who won at this meeting 12 months ago and never ran again before the Festival.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Riders Onthe Storm, so impressive in the Ascot Chase but a faller in the Ryanair, is yet another Grade One winner in attendance.
Brian Ellison’s Forest Bihan reappears for the first time since winning last season’s Old Roan Chase at Aintree, with injury keeping him off the track, while Harry Whittington’s Rouge Vif is back at Cheltenham after an impressive win in a handicap last month.
Duc Des Genievres, the Arkle winner in 2019 who is having his first run for Paul Nicholls, completes the field.
Twiston-Davies’ Ballyandy heads the weights in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle.
Second to Sceau Royal, who has franked the form since, in the Welsh Champion Hurdle on his first run of the campaign, he is giving upwards of 8lb to all his rivals.
They include Alan King’s pair Edwardstone and Harambe, Tom Lacey’s Sebastopol, Paul Nicholls’ Thyme White and Sir Psycho and the sole Irish runner Tudor City.
Ellison’s Cormier, Dan Skelton’s Proschema and the Olly Murphy duo of Hunters Call and Strong Glance are others fancied in a strong heat.
Colin Tizzard’s promising The Big Breakaway is scheduled to have his first run over fences in the opening mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase.