Connections of exciting chaser L’Homme Presse are keeping all options open as they plot a path to the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old won five consecutive chases for Venetia Williams last season, culminating in an impressive victory over Ahoy Senor in the Grade One Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
Though that rival beat him on his final run in the Mildmay at Aintree, the pair could lock horns again in the Gold Cup next March.
Connections of L’Homme Presse are mulling over ideas as they plot a path towards the Gold Cup – for which he is a general 12/1 shot – but a tilt at the Betfair Chase at Haydock is ruled out.
Part-owner Andy Edwards has also warned punters to avoid making any ante-post wagers on L’Homme Presse for the King George VI Chase, for which he is currently third favourite at a general 7/1
“The full intention is the Gold Cup. That is the target,” he said.
“We will work towards it and, as we did last year, we want to build his route to the Gold Cup in little steps. We don’t want to be chucking him in the deep end too early.
"Everything is on the table, whether it is graded races or handicaps that he can run in.”
He added: “Venetia and the owners have had several conversations and have agreed, ‘let’s not have plans this year, let’s have ideas’, because you never know what is around the corner.
“He is now racing against the big boys and options are extremely limited if we go down the graded routes.
“He won’t be going to France or Ireland, or the Betfair Chase at Haydock. It is also not our intention to go for the King George, although there are a set of circumstances in which he may run in the King George. Therefore, he will have an entry.
“Those set of circumstances might be: one, the weather; two, our options – we may have had to wait for too long and missed other races; three, the opposition may have had issues and the race looks more amenable to us.
“It would have to be a specific set of circumstances for us to run. Nothing is ruled out, but quite strongly, it is not our intention to go for the King George.
“We wanted to make punters aware as early as possible of our intentions.
“In general terms, he is probably going to have a lot more entries than runs this year, because options are limited.
“He might have two or three options, but they may be all within two or three weeks of each other, so you have actually only got one chance of running.”
L’Homme Presse, whom Edwards owns in partnership with Pam Edwards, and Peter and Patricia Pink under the DFA Racing banner, did not begin the previous campaign until December.
His talent swiftly became evident when he backed up his Dipper Chase win at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day with a 21-length victory romp in the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
Connections are in no rush to name this term’s starting point, however.
Edwards explained: “The horse will tell us when he is ready to go and it would be nice to get run into him in November somewhere. We are open to handicaps, open to graded races, and open to different distances to build a nice route to the Gold Cup.
“When the horse comes to himself, that is when he will be ready. We’d like to get a run into him in November and December, and one or two before the Gold Cup. But I have looked in January and there is a not a race for him anywhere.
“Having said all that, he looks magnificent. He is moving fantastically and we are really excited. Keep the faith!”
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