Defi Du Seuil's connections are leaning towards dropping him in trip at the Punchestown festival next week following his victory over two and a half miles in the JLT Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month.
The six-year-old, who also won the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown in February, has two Grade 1 entries at Punchestown, in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase on Tuesday and the Ryanair Novice Chase on Thursday.
Frank Berry, racing manager for Defi Du Seuil’s owner JP McManus, said on Thursday: “Defi Du Seuil will be running at Punchestown and Philip [Hobbs] is very happy with him. We’re leaning towards dropping him to two miles in the Ryanair rather than going up to three miles in Tuesday’s race.
“But we’ll wait and see what happens with the weather and the ground over the next few days before making a final decision.”
Hobbs has sent out an eyecatching 12 winners at the Punchestown festival since the turn of the century and won the Ryanair Novice Chase with Captain Chris in 2011.
Berry also confirmed that Buveur D’Air will attempt to return to winning ways in the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle next Friday, following his Champion Hurdle fall and Aintree Hurdle defeat.
If Defi Du Seuil lines up for the Ryanair Novice Chase his rivals will include the Henry de Bromhead-trained Ornua, winner of the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree on his most recent start.
"Ornua came out of Aintree well and we're happy with him," said De Bromhead, whose two Cheltenham Festival winners A Plus Tard and Minella Indo will also be in action next week.
A Plus Tard, impressive winner of the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, will tackle three miles and Grade 1 company for the first time in Tuesday's Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase, while Albert Bartlett winner Minella Indo goes for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle on Wednesday.
Willie Mullins has five – Un De Sceaux, Min, Douvan, Footpad and Great Field – of the 12 acceptors for the BoyleSports Champion Chase on Tuesday and five of the 11 left in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, including Al Boum Photo, Kemboy and Bellshill.
Faugheen will be missing from Mullins' festival team, having been scratched from the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle on Thursday.