With every edition of the Cheltenham Festival, most of the attention is focused on the likes of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson and Henry de Bromhead, but there are plenty of other men and women capable of landing winners in some of the Prestbury Park meeting’s biggest races.
One such example is Philip Hobbs, and with 20 Cheltenham winners to his name over the course of a lengthy career in the sport, it’s no surprise that many horse racing enthusiasts look for his name when betting on Cheltenham.
Hobbs will be hoping to make up for a barren four days at last year’s Festival, where things just didn’t go his way. If he’s going to get a win to his name this time around, these are the horses who are likely to do the business for him. Read on!
Celebre D’Allen – Paddy Power Plate
With a sensational run of three victories in three since Hobbs took on Celebre D’Allen, it’s no surprise that the 10-year-old is being fancied to win the Paddy Power Plate on day three of the Festival. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a horse who couldn’t buy a win under the stewardship of Louisa Carberry, but Hobbs has clearly managed to find the winning formula.
He’ll face stiff competition in the Paddy Power Plate in the form of Ciel De Neige, Birchdale and Gabynako, but at odds of 6/1, Celebre D’Allen is a great shout for the Paddy Power Plate.
Thyme Hill – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
It’s been a bit of a strange year or so for Thyme Hill. Having been one of the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle last year, he was forced to miss the race in the end, as Hobbs watched on to see Flooring Porter win the day three showpiece for trainer Gavin Cromwell. A win at Aintree helped make up for that disappointment, but two defeats since have left the eight-year-old at something of a crossroads.
This year, Thyme Hill should be back in action at Cheltenham for the Stayers’ Hurdle, and is one of the leading contenders in the Cheltenham races tips. It’ll take a strong performance to get the win, with the likes of Flooring Porter, Champ and Klassical Dream all gunning for glory. However, Hobbs may feel this is Thyme’s Hill moment to deliver the goods.
Sporting John – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle/Pertemps Final
Another interesting contender for Hobbs this year is Sporting John, who is fresh off the back of a Handicap Hurdle win at Warwick in January. The seven-year-old showed some great form to win that race and has experience of earning victories at Cheltenham racecourse.
It’s still unclear which race Sporting John will finally be entered on, though the Stayers’ Hurdle is a real possibility, where he can be found at odds of about 8/1. However, given the strength in depth for that race, Hobbs may opt to enter Sporting John in the Pertemps Network Final, where he is currently the bookies’ favourite.
In the three aforementioned horses alone, Hobbs has a few good chances of earning another memorable win at Cheltenham. It would be great for the sport to see him celebrating a famous victory.