Hobbs Targets Brown Advisory For Sporting John At Cheltenham

Sporting John

Leading British trainer Philip Hobbs has decided to send Grade One winner Sporting John over three miles at the Cheltenham festival, with the gelding set to take on Monkfish in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase instead of the Marsh Novices' Chase.

This six year old was a smart hurdles prospect and looked to have a big future after landing a decent point to point over in Ireland and from that was bought by JP McManus.

Last season he was sent hurdling and on his debut at Exeter he went on to score in great fashion with the form being massively franked from that race with the second place going on to win a Grade Two and third, fourth and fifth also going on to win since.

He was lightly campaigned during the term and before the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle only ran twice more, which came at Exeter again where he bolted up in a Novices Hurdle and he then stepped up to a better contest at Ascot taking Master Debonair to the cleaners.

It was all systems go to the festival where overall when taking on proven Grade One winners he was outclassed and since then has been sent chasing.

Much was expected from the gelding on chase debut at Exeter, but unfortunately he could only finish a weak third of sixth behind Fiddlerontheroof and Silver Hallmark.

However, he bounced back to form last time out when landing his first Grade One over fences in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.

The six year old looked well beaten along say from home but rallied from way back in the field to stay on best of the rest and see off Shan Blue after the last to take the event by close to four lengths.

That win came over 2m4f, but Hobbs believes he would enjoy an extra half a mile to see his full potential.

(Credit ATR) “I think it’s far more likely that he will run in the three-miler (Brown Advisory) – although we still have the option of the Marsh,” said Hobbs.

“But I think unless it is very deep ground he will go for the longer race.

“He got better and better as the race went on at Sandown – and as it was only his second run over fences, you can understand that a lot of it was through greenness. But in the end he won quite comfortably.”