Defi Du Seuil confirms his position as the top four-year-old hurdler in training with Aintree triumph
Defi Du Seuil claimed his third top-level success after completing a Cheltenham Festival and Aintree double in grinding out victory in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.
Having landed the Triumph Hurdle at Prestbury Park, the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding made it seven wins from as many starts since joining the Minehead handler.
Reunited with Barry Geraghty having been partnered by Richard Johnson at Cheltenham, the 4-11 favourite was forced to get serious for a period late on before finally asserting.
Held up in mid-division early on, the JP McManus-owned four-year-old, together with Fred Winter runner-up Divin Bere, moved through to take command after the second-last.
With little to choose between the pair over the final flight it was only halfway up the run-in that the odds-on favourite obliged, pulling clear for a length and a quarter success to complete a double achieved in years gone by through the likes of Zarkandar, Detroit City and Katchit.
Geraghty said: "He's been brilliant all season but he was very good at Cheltenham.
"He's a horse with a future, obviously, but to come back and do what he's done today and win again, I think that's seven wins, he's been busy.
"He's very good and he can only improve with time, but it's very hard for a juvenile to hold that level of form all season - Philip has done a brilliant job with him."
Hobbs said: "He's still unbeaten over hurdles and the bubble has not been burst yet!
"We've had two other Triumph Hurdle winners (Made In Japan and Detroit City) but this one would be the best of them.
"We need to talk to JP and everybody else to see what the plan will be for next season, but we've plenty of time to do that.
"He's very adaptable and he's very tough, he just takes it all very well."