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Hobbs sweet on Gumball ahead of Showcase Meeting

 

TRAINER Philip Hobbs has enjoyed a good start to the 2018/19 Jump season, with 21 winners on the board so far, and is looking forward to the first Cheltenham meeting, The Showcase, on October 26 and 27.

Hobbs, whose yard is located at Bilbrook in West Somerset is hoping that classy four-year-old Gumball will line up in the £40,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.35pm), which takes place over two miles on day two of The Showcase at Cheltenham, Saturday, October 27.

The son of No Risk At All enjoyed a fine 2017/18 campaign, which included taking second in the G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Festival in April.

The grey, who runs in the colours of Champion Hurdle-winning owner Terry Warner, finished last season with a ready six-length success over two miles in a novice event at Ludlow on April 24. He was also successful in the early part of the season with two comfortable victories at Chepstow and Stratford in October, 2017.

Hobbs, who trains at Sandhill Racing Stables, Bilbrook, Somerset, revealed: "Gumball had a very good time of it last season and ran some excellent races, particularly in the G1 event at Aintree.

"It is never easy with four-year-olds going into this second season, but we are aiming him at the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham at the end of October.

"Hopefully, he has another good season."

First run in 2009, the Masterson Holdings Hurdle has rapidly established itself as an attractive early-season target for four-year-old hurdlers.

The roll of honour includes Tiger Roll, who took the spoils for owner Gigginstown House Stud and trainer Gordon Elliott in 2014. Tiger Roll had landed the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle earlier in 2014 and has since won another two races at The Festival™ presented by Magners - the 2017 National Hunt Chase and the 2018 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

Following his Festival success in 2018, Tiger Roll went on to gain the biggest prize in Jump racing, the £1-million Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.

Other high-class winners of the Masterson Holdings Hurdle include Dodging Bullets (2012), who was subsequently successful in the 2015 G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Sceau Royal (2016), who progressed to score at G2 level over hurdles and G1 level over fences.


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