Trainer Richard Hobson believes Haydock Park “brings the best out” of Lord Du Mesnil, who is bidding to complete a unique four-timer of staying chase victories at the track this Saturday in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Handicap Chase.
The extended 3m 1f contest, a limited handicap, has attracted an excellent 17 entries on a card which will be offering a record amount of prize money for that specific fixture – £294,000 up from £250,000 in 2020 - and also features the Grade Two Unibet New One Hurdle and Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle.
Nine year old Lord Du Mesnil boasts an impressive record at Haydock Park, with three wins from four starts at the Merseyside course to date.
And victory on Saturday would seal the unique feat of winning each of Haydock Park’s four valuable staying 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 Handicap Chase (2021). He was runner-up in the 2020 Grand National Trial on his only other start at Haydock Park.
Lord Du Mesnil returned to form with a gallant effort to finish second in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day and while he also holds an entry at Lingfield Park his trainer Richard Hobson has revealed that the nine year old is likely to head back to his happy hunting ground in the north west.
His potential rivals there include the talented Venetia Williams-trained Royal Pagaille, and Hobson said: “He’s likely to go to Haydock. He’s come out of his Wetherby run really well and has been given plenty of time to recover from that. His fitness has peaked, so we’re just hoping it doesn’t dry out too much really.
“It was a fantastic run there off top weight. It was a real gruelling display from him with such a big weight on his back and he was coming back again at the end. We’re looking forward to the weekend and if we do go to Haydock the 163-rated Royal Pagaille would keep the weight down for us with a rating of 152.
“It would be nice to do the four-timer, I don’t think anybody has done it in its current guise! He just loves Haydock, he’s really at ease with his action there and it’s all about having one speed where he can go in his conditions and keep it up – so the track brings the best out of him.”
Hobson revealed that Lord Du Mesnil also has next month’s William Hill Grand National on his radar, but added that the son of Saint Des Saints would be unlikely to head to the big race in Aintree unless the ground was particularly testing – having been pulled-up in the race last April.
He said: “I wouldn’t think the Grand National would be on his radar this year. We’re looking at 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’re committed it’s hard to pull them out as you’ve got people betting on them ante-post and things. The race has been soft once in around 10 years or so and he wants Red Marauder conditions – the drainage is too good for that now.”
Clerk of the Course Kirkland Tellwright commented: “After a testing couple of years for the industry during the pandemic we’re delighted to be able to offer record levels of prize money on Saturday and it’s fantastic to see such a strong set of entries as a consequence.
“The Peter Marsh always proves to be a hugely exciting affair and the presence of Lord Du Mesnil certainly adds some extra spice as he chases a four-timer which has never been done before. Both Twin Oaks in the 1990s and The Last Fling in the early 2000s had fantastic records at Haydock Park when the race programme looked slightly different, but this particular feat would be unique.
“If Lord Du Mesnil is successful, he’ll have to come back in November to try and complete the five-timer in the big one, the Grade One Betfair Chase!”
Entries for the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (Grade 2) 3m 1f 125y
Royale Pagaille (FR) 8 11 10 Venetia Williams Mrs S. Ricci
Bristol de Mai (FR) 11 11 7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede
Lord du Mesnil (FR) 9 10 13 Richard Hobson Mr Paul Porter & Mike & Mandy Smith
Sam Brown 10 10 8 Anthony Honeyball Mr T. C. Frost
Lake View Lad (IRE) 12 10 7 N. W. Alexander Exors of the late Mr Trevor Hemmings
Remastered 9 10 7 David Pipe Brocade Racing
Kalooki (GER) 8 10 6 Philip Hobbs Mr Andrew L. Cohen
Lieutenant Rocco (IRE) 7 10 4 Harriet Brown Sherborne Utilities Ltd
Alnadam (FR) 9 10 2 Dan Skelton Bryan Drew
Empire Steel (IRE) 8 10 1 Sandy Thomson Alan Wight
Fortescue 8 10 1 Henry Daly Mr T. F. F. Nixon
Sam's Adventure 10 10 0 Brian Ellison Julie & Phil Martin
Enqarde (FR) 8 9 12 Dr Richard Newland Off The Clock Partners & Dr RDP Newland
The Galloping Bear 9 9 10 Ben Clarke Mr Adrian Paterson
The Two Amigos 10 9 9 Nicky Martin Bradley Partnership
Fado des Brosses (FR) 7 9 7 Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker
Just Your Type (IRE) 10 9 0 Charlie Longsdon Mr Tyrone Hanlon