The Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle also known, for sponsorship purposes, as the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, is a Grade Two contest, run over 2 miles and 179 yards on the New Course at Cheltenham and restricted to four-year-old novice hurdlers. The race is staged annually, in January and, as the name suggests, is intended to serve as a preparatory race for the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle, run over the same course and distance, at the Cheltenham Festival the following March. That said, since the inception of the Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, in 1985, just two horses have won both races. Indeed, Katchit, who did so in 2007, went on to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following year.
A decade later, Defi Du Seuil, owned by John McManus and trained by Philip Hobbs, was sent off 1/5 favourite to beat three rivals in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle and did so in taking style. Always travelling strongly under jockey Barry Geraghty, the Voix Du Nord gelding went clear in the closing stages to easily beat Rainbow Dreamer by 9 lengths. Consequently, Defi Du Seuil again started favourite, at 5/2, for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and duly obliged once again. With reigning champion jockey Richard Johnson deputising for the injured Geraghty, Defi Du Seuil led between the last two flights and stayed on strongly to beat Mega Fortine by 5 lengths.