Winter Million Festival live on Sky Sports: L’Homme Presse on track to return at Lingfield in Fleur de Lys Chase | Racing News


Venetia Williams has confirmed L’Homme Presse is on track to make his eagerly-awaited return at Lingfield during the Winter Million Festival.

The Cheltenham Festival winner has been on the sidelines since unseating his big-race jockey Charlie Deutsch when booked for second place in the 2022 King George VI Chase, missing out on a return to Prestbury Park for a shot at the Gold Cup last spring.

L’Homme Presse is a general 16/1 chance for the blue riband this time around and his handler has the Fleur de Lys Chase on January 21 inked in as the race where the nine-year-old will be back from over a year off the track.

“He’s fine and Lingfield is the plan for the Fleur de Lys,” said Williams. “All being well, he is on course for that.”

Williams also has another talented chaser on her hands in the form of Djelo, who enhanced his growing reputation in Ascot’s Noel Novices’ Chase prior to Christmas.

The six-year-old won just one of his five starts for Williams over hurdles last term but has excelled since switching to fences and, after victories at Aintree and Newbury, took the step up to Grade Two company in his stride when an impressive six-length scorer over Paul Nicholls’ Kandoo Kid.

Eventual winner Djelo ridden by Charlie Deutsch in action during The Howden Noel Novices' Chase on day one of the Howden Christmas Racing Weekend at Ascot
Eventual winner Djelo ridden by Charlie Deutsch in action during The Howden Noel Novices’ Chase

It was the first time the gelding had raced over further than two miles over the larger obstacles and his trainer is unconcerned about distance, as she assessed what her charge has done so far and what is possible in the future.

“I was very pleased with him and, like all these horses, it is one step at a time, but each question we’ve asked of him, he’s answered very positively,” said Williams. “He’s a very different horse to L’Homme Presse, he’s much smaller and different, L’Homme Presse is a big wheel and this horse isn’t.

“I don’t think the trip is that important to him. For the time being, I’m not worried whether it is two or two and a half – I could have run him in the graduation chase (at Ascot) over two-miles-five.”

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