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Kettle too hot for Shloer Chase rivals

Last season’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On maintained her unbeaten record at Cheltenham when collaring Duc Des Genievres in the Shloer Chase.

Normally a front-runner, Put The Kettle On’s rider Aidan Coleman was content to let Duc Des Genievres set a brisk early pace on his first run for Paul Nicholls, but Put The Kettle On and Defi Du Seuil closed in coming down the hill.

Harry Cobden kicked again on Duc De Genievres and looked sure to hold on, but Henry de Bromhead’s mare stuck to her task gamely and the 7-4 chance ended up winning going away by a length and a quarter.

The winner was given a 12-1 quote by Coral for the Champion Chase in March.

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Odds-on favourite Defi Du Seuil was pulled up early in the straight, having been behind in the early stages following a mistake at the first, before finding little for pressure at the finish.

Coleman said: “She has done very well. She has got a massive heart this filly as she hated the ground. She was never happy the whole way.

“It was a testament to her ability and her attitude as it was a hard race for her. Since November last year, she has only run once, so she might be a touch rusty. When I got on top, I won well.

“If you look at the form of the Arkle Trial (that Put The Kettle On won last year) it doesn’t stand up, but if you look at the Arkle, it is probably strong form.

“She must be in a good place to win if after two fences I’m not happy, as it is a long way to go in a championship race. The previous Arkle winner was second and everyone else was in another parish, so fair play to her.

“Yes, she has three from three here, but I think that is coincidence – if they were run anywhere else she would have won. She has won on all sorts of tracks, but if you are going to like a course, and especially be a two-miler, the Old Course at Cheltenham is the place to be, isn’t it?

“I think she can (take the step up to be a Queen Mother horse). Whether that means winning or being competitive, time will tell.

“She is value for more today, considering the feel I got all the way round. She will be there in the money, whether she is first or fourth you don’t know. She is a credit to connections.”

Put The Kettle On with Aidan Coleman
Put The Kettle On with Aidan Coleman (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Nicholls said of the second: “I was a bit nervous about the ground. I think on better ground he would finish better.

“A flatter track would suit him better, but I wasn’t expecting that as I didn’t know what to expect. I would say watching that, slightly better ground, he would bounce off it. It was an almighty run.”

Philip Hobbs said of Defi Du Seuil: “He just got very tired very quickly after jumping the second last and Dickie (Richard Johnson) just thought there was no point after that jumping the last, but he seems to be OK after the race.”

Johnson added: “Defi du Seuil was going well. However, he was very tired jumping the second last. I just thought it was the right thing to do to pull him up after that, but he does seem to be fine after the race.”

Defi Du Seuil bidding to erase memory of Festival reverse

Philip Hobbs is looking to see Defi Du Seuil put his Queen Mother Champion Chase disappointment behind him when he bids for back-to-back wins in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.

A prolific Grade One winner over hurdles and fences, Hobbs remains at a loss to explain is below-par run in March.

With both Altior and Chacun Pour Soi late absentees, Defi Du Seuil was sent off the 2-5 favourite for the two-mile blue riband, but could only finish fourth behind Politologue.

Hobbs said: “Defi is in good form and everything has gone well up to now. I’m very happy with him.

“He was maybe a bit flat before the Champion Chase and Barry (Geraghty) felt during the race he didn’t run with his usual zest and he found nothing at all.

“There was nothing wrong with him in any way afterwards and we’ve not found any real reason for it.

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“He is in good form now so hopefully we can put that (Queen Mother run) behind us. The penalty he has does give the others a bit more of an advantage, but hopefully he can cope with it.

“We will just take it race by race with him as it depends how he runs as to what we do next regarding the trip. As he has got a bit older he has got a bit stronger, but he is very enthusiastic – as he always is – and he seems in good form.”

Put The Kettle On won the Arkle Trial at this meeting 12 months ago and was then put away until March, when she returned to land the Arkle itself.

Her trainer Henry de Bromhead feels there is every reason to take advantage of her apparent love of the Cotswolds.

When asked if getting further track experience was behind the decision to run, De Bromhead said: “It’s nearly as much that she loves the place so much.

“She’s really progressed on her two runs there, so she seems to really enjoy it. It’s as much that as anything, to be honest – that’s probably why.”

Rouge Vif was ultra-impressive for Harry Whittington when winning a handicap on his reappearance, and now goes up in class.

Whittington said: “This is a horse that ever since we’ve jumped a fence with him, he has just been electric.

“There have been so many question marks about the undulations of Cheltenham, but he put that to bed in his run three weeks ago.

“We had the Haldon Gold Cup as our Plan A, but we thought we’d put the Cheltenham entry in, just to look at it. We then thought we’d be mad not to run because of the good ground and because we wanted to learn about the track anyway.”

Duc Des Genievres has his first run for Paul Nicholls having left Willie Mullins, for whom he won the 2019 Arkle, while another Grade One winner in the field is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Riders Onthe Storm – but he is dropping in trip.

“I’m very interested in trying him at this two-mile trip seeing as there aren’t a great deal of two-and-a-half-mile races around for him at the moment,” Twiston-Davies told William Hill.

Riders Onthe Storm was very impressive in an Ascot Grade One
Riders Onthe Storm was very impressive in an Ascot Grade One (Julian Herbert/PA)

“We can always go back to two-and-a-half after Sunday if things don’t work out, but I’m keen to see exactly what we’ve got.

“He’s very quick, proved he can mix it with the best last season and is as fit as anything we’ve sent out first time so far this season.”

Brian Ellison’s Forest Bihan, having his first run since winning the Old Roan at Aintree over a year ago, completes the field.

Put The Kettle On set for return to Cheltenham

Put The Kettle On is set to kick off her campaign in Sunday’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.

Henry de Bromhead’s six-year-old posted a career-best effort when springing a 16-1 surprise in the Arkle at the Festival in March, adding to a previous success over two miles at Cheltenham’s Open meeting last year.

Put The Kettle On is again due to line up at the fixture, with the mare counting among seven entries for the Grade Two heat.

De Bromhead said: “She’s in great form and is due to go over to Cheltenham for the Shloer Chase. She seems to love it over there, so she’s going over there this weekend.

“She’s in mighty form, working well, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Sceau Royal, winner of Saturday’s Elite Hurdle for Alan King, could switch back to fences for the race, while the Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil, who was a huge disappointment in the Champion Chase in the spring, is in line make his seasonal bow.

Rouge Vif was a winner at last month’s Showcase meeting and could return to Cheltenham for Harry Whittington, with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ascot Chase hero Riders Onthe Storm, the Brian Ellison-trained Forest Bihan and 2019 Arkle winner Duc Des Genievres, who is now with Paul Nicholls, completing the possibles.