Superstar Defi Du Seuil has smashed up the two mile chasing division this season and was thought by many punters to be a certain for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at this year's Cheltenham festival but his trainer Philip Hobbs has revealed that this may not be the case.
The JP McManus owned seven year old is a dual Cheltenham festival Grade One winner and will be looking to extend that this season but with Altior dropping back down to two miles and heading to the Champion Chase in which he has dominated over the last few years it has gave connections to Defi Du Seuil to rethink their plans.
Hobbs could send his stable star to the Ryanair Chase instead, with his horse proven over two and a half miles as a novice and although only running over the minimum trip this term he is a very versatile and credible athlete.
The son of Voix Du Nord will head to Ascot this weekend in the feature race of the day at the Berkshire track in the Grade One Matchbook Clarence House Chase over 2m1f where he will take on only four rivals.
He will be looking to keep his unbeaten run going this season that has seen him pick up the Grade Two Shloer Chase and Grade One Tingle Creek and if he was to dominate his contests on Saturday, when he renews his rivalry with superstar veteran Un De Sceaux, he will be sure to go back to the head of the Champion Chase Market.
Defi Du Seuil is set to take on the likes of Altior, Chacun Pour Soi and A Plus Tard which could make the race of the festival but also allows for his connections to be concerned and switch him to the Ryanair with the talent on show in the contest.
(Credit Racing Post) Trainer Philip Hobbs said: "He's in the Champion Chase and the Ryanair but it'll depend on ground and opposition.
"If it's good ground – and the opposition was weaker in the Ryanair nearer the time – then we could always change track. Last year we left him in the Arkle and JLT and decided when we had two days to declare. We'll do the same this year."
Most firms have Altior and Hobbs' gelding as joint favourites at around 3/1 to 10/3 and the trainer is obviously very wary of Nicky Henderson's superstar.
Hobbs added: "As far as I'm concerned I hope we don't have to take Altior on.
"We want as easy a passage as we can get. Altior has got to prove himself.
"One of the reasons we started at two miles at the beginning of the season was that the division looked easier with Altior going further [in trip]. There's no point looking too far ahead, we take it one race at a time and we won't be making a quick decision after Saturday."