Defi Du Seuil back to form with Exeter win

Jockey Richard Johnson celebrates
Image: Defi Du Seuil - won at Exeter

Defi Du Seuil bounced back to form to win a fascinating Heavitree Brewery PLC Novices' Chase at Exeter.

Winner of the 2017 Triumph Hurdle, Philip Hobbs struggled to get Defi Du Seuil back to anything like that level last season and after two poor runs decided to draw stumps.

He showed little of his old enthusiasm on his chasing debut at Cheltenham, and jumped stickily again early on in this assignment before warming to his task under Barry Geraghty.

Tom George's Black Op - with Sam Twiston-Davies standing in for Noel Fehily - jumped fine in the main but had to settle for third, while his fellow 6-4 joint-favourite Topofthegame ran an extraordinary race in second.

The Paul Nicholls-trained latter shied away from the tape at the start, conceding around 20 lengths before working his way into contention, and those exertions took their toll after the last.

Defi Du Seuil bounded clear from the final fence to win by three and a half lengths at 9-1 and was given a 10-1 quote by Sky Bet for the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

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White Moon was the disappointment of the race, dropping away tamely in the straight.

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