Past Winners » Thomas Hobson


It is understandable that Born Survivor is favourite here.  He was an expensive purchase, he cost £220,000 at Chetlenham after winning his only point-to-point, and he was impressive in winning his maiden hurdle for Dan Skelton over today’s course and distance in December.  Also, he represents the owner/trainer/rider combination that won this race last year with Three Musketeers.

He may well win, but he still has a lot to prove, and I don’t think that he should be a 9/4 shot in a race that is as competitive as this.

It was a marginal call between the two Willie Mullins horses but, of the two, even at a slightly shorter price, Thomas Hobson is the bet for me.  He was not as highly-rated as his stable companion Open Eagle on the flat, but he wasn’t far off him (97 as opposed to 104) and he raced just seven times on the flat.  He was still progressive when he left John Gosden.

He is not a natural over his hurdles, but his jumping is getting better with each run and, as his jumping improves, his performances are getting better.  He fell at the final flight on his hurdling bow, then he beat Stuccodor by four lengths in a maiden hurdle at the Galway Festival, despite not jumping well.

He was beaten by Three Stars at Navan in November in a Grade 2 contest but, again, his jumping was not great, and the sedate early pace was all against him.  Even with that, he beat Tycoon Prince into third place.

Then on his latest run, he made all to win at Punchestown, beating the useful Jetstream Jack by four lengths, the pair of them clear.  His jumping was better that day, and he should improve again for the experience.

He stayed two and a half miles well that day, and the step up to two miles and five is a positive.  He handles heavy ground well, and it may be significant (in terms of the pecking order of the stable companions) that Danny Mullins is riding Thomas Hobson, given that Danny is also riding Black Hercules earlier.