L’Homme Pressé Comeback Run Pushed Back Until New Year
Hertfordshire-based trainer Venetia Williams has revealed that L’Homme Pressé will not make his comeback run in the 2023 King George VI Chase at Kempton. His return to action is now likely to be in early 2024.
L’Homme Pressé, who is one of the highest-rated 3m chasers in the UK, has not featured since falling at the final fence of the 2022 King George VI Chase. Williams felt the Grade I contest was too big for an assignment for her horse after 12 months off the track.
The Gold Cup is still the target
Although Williams has yet to reveal which race she plans to enter L’Homme Presse in for his return to action, the Cheltenham Gold Cup remains the primary target this season. He is 14/1 for the blue riband event in the sport. Those looking to back the talented chaser should consider the leading free bets horse racing available ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. For example, Paddy Power are offering new customers up to £50 money back as a free bet on horse racing.
The seven-year-old is set for his first appearance at the Festival since he was successful in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase in 2022. He confirmed his position that season as one of the leading novice chasers in the UK and Ireland, beating the likes of Ahoy Senor, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Capodanno.
Since that victory at the Festival, L’Homme Pressé has featured three times on the track. He was beaten for the first time over fences in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the Grand National Meeting at Aintree. He bounced back to victory in the Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle before his mistake at the final obstacle in the King George VI Chase.
Cheltenham’s Trials Day an option
Williams may consider Trials Day at Cheltenham in late January as the best opportunity for L’Homme Pressé to appear again. There are several competitive options across the card at Prestbury Park, including the Grade II Cotswold Chase which was won by Ahoy Senor in 2023.
Equally, a relatively new race on the calendar is Lingfield’s Fleur de Lys Chase, a £165,000 contest that has attracted the interest of Protektorat too.
L’Homme Pressé has a 100% record at Cheltenham as he was also successful in the Dipper Novices Chase at the course in 2022. He won that race by 10 lengths, making all the running at Gloucestershire HQ.
Another option for L’Homme Pressé will be the Grade II Denman Chase at Newbury in February. That race takes place over the distance of 2m7½f, and Williams may see that as the perfect prep run ahead of the Festival.
Four horses in history have won the Denman Chase and then completed the double in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a month later. Kauto Star and Denman achieved that feat in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Coneygree managed the double in 2015, while more recently, Native River won both races in 2018.
If L’Homme Pressé shows the same kind of form as he did in his opening season over fences, his connections will be hoping he prove to be a big contender for the Gold Cup and other major 3m+ races in 2024.