Coach Richard Hobson thinks Haydock Park “brings the best” out of Lord Du Mesnil, who offers a unique quadruple of pursuit victories on the track in the second-year Peter Marsh handicap pursuit on Saturday.
The extended 3m 1f limited handicap contest has attracted 17 excellent entries on a card which will offer a record amount of prize money for that specific match – £294,000 from £250,000 in 2020 – and also includes Grade Two Unibet New One Hurdle and second year Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle.
Nine-year-old Lord Du Mesnil has an impressive track record at Haydock Park, with three wins from four starts on the Merseyside course to date.
And Saturday’s victory would seal the unique feat of winning each of Haydock Park’s four prized handicap chases – having already won each of the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase (2019), The Last Fling Handicap Chase (2019) and the William Hill Grand National Trial. Disability Hunt (2021). He was runner-up in the 2020 Grand National Trial in his only other start at Haydock Park.
Lord Du Mesnil returned to form with a brave effort to finish second in the third year Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day and while he also holds an entry to Lingfield Park his trainer Richard Hobson has revealed that the nine-year-old is likely to return to his happy hunting ground in the northwest.
Potential rivals include the talented Venetia Williams-trained Royal Mess, and Hobson said: “He is likely to go to Haydock. He came out of his run at Wetherby very well and had plenty of time to recover. His physical condition is at its peak, so we hope he doesn’t dry out too much.
“It was a fantastic race there with a top weight. It was a real grueling display from him with such a big weight on his back and he was coming back at the end. We are looking forward to the weekend and if we go to Haydock the 163 rated Royal Pagaille would cut the weight for us with a 152 rating.
“It would be nice to do the four-stroke, I don’t think anyone has done it in its current form! He loves Haydock, he’s really comfortable with his action there and it’s all about having a speed where he can go in his condition and maintain it – so the track brings out the best in him.
Hobson revealed that Lord Du Mesnil also had next month’s William Hill Grand National on his radar, but added that the son of Saint Des Saints was unlikely to make it to the big Aintree race unless the terrain is particularly trying – after being pulled up. in the race last April.
He said: “I don’t think the Grand National would be on his radar this year. We are watching the Trial at Haydock and he just needs his conditions. He’ll probably get an entry in case there’s a monsoon, but once you commit it’s hard to get them out because you have people betting on them ante-post and all. The race has been soft once in about 10 years and he wants Red Marauder conditions – the drainage is too good for that now.
Race Director Kirkland Tellwright commented: “After a few years of testing for the industry during the pandemic, we are delighted to be able to offer record levels of prize money on Saturday and it is fantastic to see a set of entries too solid as a consequence.
“The Peter Marsh always proves to be a hugely exciting affair and the presence of Lord Du Mesnil certainly adds a bit of extra spice as he chases a four-stroke that has never been done before. Twin Oaks in the 1990s and The Last Fling in the early 2000s had fantastic records at Haydock Park when the racing schedule looked slightly different, but this particular feat would be unique.If Lord Du Mesnil is successful he will have to return in November to try and complete the quintuple in the big one, the Grade One Betfair Chase!