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Thursday, December 2, 2004


Hobbs also has three possibles for the bonusprint.com Gold Cup

Philip Hobbs today revealed that 2003 Smurfit Champion Hurdle hero Rooster Booster will run in the £75,000 totesport Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday, December 11, in a bid to win the prestigious two mile, one furlong event for a second time.

The 10-year-old took the totesport Bula Hurdle in 2002, keeping on well up the run-in to defeat Landing Light by two and a half lengths, and three months later captured the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.

The Minehead-based trainer said: “The totesport Bula Hurdle is the plan for Rooster Booster if everything goes alright until next weekend.”

Hobbs’s stable star was last seen in action when beaten just over six lengths into fourth by Irish raider Accordion Etoile in the £70,000 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Prestbury Park on November 14, when giving weight all round to his eight rivals.

“I was very pleased with Rooster Booster in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle - I thought he ran very well for his first outing of the season and off top weight,” he enthused. “He’s come out of that race in good order and is fine.”

Rooster Booster likes Cheltenham, with four of his eight victories coming at the Gloucestershire course.

Hobbs could also be triple-handed in the feature chase on the same day, the £110,000 bonusprint.com Gold Cup.

“Monkerhostin and probably Farmer Jack are likely to run in the bonusprint.com Gold Cup - and they could be joined by Supreme Prince,” he explained.

Monkerhostin has started favourite for all three races he has competed in this term, winning a handicap chase on his seasonal bow at Stratford in October before finishing third to subsequent Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup winner Celestial Gold in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 13. He then found just Monet’s Garden too strong in a hurdle at Windsor six days later.

Hobbs was reported as saying that he thought Monkerhostin had a winning chance in the bonusprint.com Gold Cup, run over two miles and five furlongs, after his last start at Prestbury Park.

“How can you say that you’re going to win a competitive race like the bonusprint.com Gold Cup - I never said that, I said that I hope that Monkerhostin would have a very good chance in the race,” remarked Hobbs. “He’s in good order and is fine.”

Farmer Jack took a bad tumble in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, having begun his campaign with an impressive 11-length victory over Take The Stand in the totesport Wigan Chase at Aintree in October. He was back on the track a week after his fall, going down by 20 lengths when second to Le Roi Miguel in the totesport Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Hobbs continued: “Farmer Jack ran very well at Huntingdon after having had an awful fall in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. He’s in good form and, due to lack of opportunities, I think he’ll probably run at Cheltenham again.”

Supreme Prince returned to winning ways when taking a handicap chase at Newbury on Saturday, getting the better of a fine battle with Claymore by three-quarters of a length.

“Supreme Prince ran a great race at Newbury - the handicapper put him up 8lb for that win and he’s got a 6lb penalty for the bonusprint.com Gold Cup so it’s neither here nor there whether he runs at Cheltenham or somewhere else,” he added.

“I obviously haven’t looked very hard for another race for him and I’m not quite sure what he’ll do but he could well run at Cheltenham.”

Coral, who make the Martin Pipe-trained Our Vic 4/1 favourite for the bonusprint.com Gold Cup, price the Hobbs trio as follows - 7/1 Monkerhostin, 10/1 Supreme Prince and 14/1 Farmer Jack.

This year’s bonusprint.com Gold Cup, which Gary Moore has already indicated is the target for stable star Tikram and J P McManus’s racing manager, Frank Berry, has stated is a possible for Knife Edge and Shamawan, and the totesport Bula Hurdle form part of the British Horseracing Board’s Order of Merit series, which awards points in the top 63 races this season.

The connections of the overall winner with the most points throughout the season will receive £200,000 - 75% to the owner, 12.5% to the trainer and the same again to the stable staff. Farmer Jack is the current joint leader with 27 points.

There is a new record amount of £466,500 of prize money on offer over the December meeting, which takes place on Friday, December 10, and Saturday, December 11, up from the £447,500 offered last year. Cheltenham, with the help of sponsors, has invested heavily in the two-day meeting, with prize money standing at nearly double the £251,000 seen in 1999.

Admission prices for both days of the December meeting are Club/Tattersalls: £20 (£18 in advance); Group Rate (15 or more): £16; 16-24s: £12; Best Mate Enclosure: £6; Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £44 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £22.

The next confirmation stage for the bonusprint.com Gold Cup is at the five-day stage on Monday, December 6, the same day that entries close for the totesport Bula Hurdle.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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