The unmistakable green and yellow-hooped silks of JP McManus are synonymous with National Hunt racing. Plenty of jumps racing’s best horses and jockeys have donned the famous colors, including Grand National winners Don’t Push It and Minella Times and AP McCoy and Rachael Blackmore, but it was recently confirmed that another of his noble steeds will be heading for retirement — Defi Du Seuil.
The nine-year-old won an incredible seven Grade 1 races during the peak of his career, making him trainer Philip Hobbs’ most successful horse and the British handler had nothing but good words to say about Defi Du Seuil, telling Racing Post: “He’s been phenomenal, winning seven Grade 1s. We’ve never had a horse who’s achieved that before. And he was a really lovely character in the yard in every way.
“It’s just that his form has petered away and it’s not good seeing a horse like him running miles below par.”
So, as an early retirement beckons, let’s take a look back at some of the nine-year-old’s best victories. Read on to find out more!
Triumph Hurdle (2017)
Victory in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival was the pinnacle of a sensational Juvenile season for Defi Du Seuil. With an impressive five victories already racked up ahead of the Prestbury Park meeting, the Hobbs-trained horse was heavily fancied with those looking for a bet on horse racing and he duly delivered in the two-mile, one-furlong race. Taking the lead on the long run for the final of the eight hurdles Defi Du Seuil stayed on strongly to win by five lengths.
4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (2017)
Just when you thought that maiden season couldn’t get any better for McManus, Hobbs and his regular rider Barry Geraghty rounded the year off with a huge seventh victory in the 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree. A heavy odds-on favorite prior to the Grand National Festival contest, Defi Du Seuil certainly wasn’t given as easy a run in Merseyside as he was at Prestbury Park as Divin Bere stayed on to finish just a length and half adrift of the winner.
Golden Miller Novices’ Chase (2019)
After missing out on the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, Defi Du Seuil returned to Prestbury Park and scooped the Grade 1 Golden Miller Novices’ Chase. A 3/1 favorite, Geraghty shook the horse up between the final two fences before taking the lead with around 200 yards to go and stayed on strongly to beat Lostintranslation by over two lengths.
Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (2019)
One of the more dramatic finishes of Defi Du Seuil’s career, the horse jumped into the lead at the last in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase and opened up a one-length lead over Un De Sceaux on the run-in. However, the then six-year-old began to slow towards the finish and the Willie Mullins-trained horse once again closed in, but Defi Du Seuil managed to hold on and win by nothing more than a neck.
Clarence House Chase (2020)
With a victory in the Clarence House Chase following straight on from the Tingle Creek, and making it three wins in a row for Defi Du Seuil, few would have predicted that this would be the last time we would not only see the then seven-year-old win a Grade 1, but in the winners’ enclosure at all. The Hobbs-trained horse eased to a successive victory over Un De Sceaux, impressively beating his rival by almost three lengths.