Guest Post by Sean Trivass, aka Sir Ivor
As the snow belted down in not so sunny Sussex Wednesday morning, I got up bright and early for the long drive to the Philip Hobbs yard on a press call relating to the Welsh Grand National on December 27th.Â Many of you will know or remember that the yard won this prestigious handicap last year with Dream Alliance at the rewarding odds of 20/1, not that I availed myself personally of course, moresâ€™ the pity, and he will look to repeat that feat (and become the first horse to do so) again this season.
Dream Alliance has been put up nine pounds for this yearâ€™s renewal BUT the one thing we do know is that the race is his main target again this year, which has to be a bonus and I will be taking some of the 16/1 as soon as I finish writing this. I suspect he will start shorter on the day and I can simply lay it back on the exchanges to guarantee a profit with the only risk being the weather or injury stopping him getting to the track.
Naturally, as us so-called scribes walked around the yard I spent most of my time chatting to the horses themselves (yep, I am one of those punters who actually likes the horses as well as the betting), and that always endears me to the staff in the yard from top to bottom, and helps me glean little snippets of information missed by others who seem to have their stories written in their little heads before they even arrive...
Anyway, I suspect a few horses to add to your notebooks may be the only reason you have read this far [Ed: not at all Sean, not at all... OK, maybe... ;)], so no point in beating about the bush any further, and the first horse I was â€œgivenâ€ was novice chaser KEKI BUKU.
A decent enough hurdler with four wins under his belt, he is yet to really live up to the ultra high expectations of the yard and has been the cause of much head scratching. He regularly works like a real champion but steadfastly refuses to deliver on the track (much better this season so far after a breathing operation) but they will find the key to his undoubted talents and when they do, watch him go!
Moving on to the trainer himself, he knows what he is talking about as witnessed by victories too numerous to mention but including the Champion Hurdle (Rooster Booster), The Queen Mother Champion Chase (Flagship Uberalles), and RSA Chase (One Knight), and he is apparently quite sweet on the improvement made over the summer by OTIS TARDA, a four year old son of Soviet Star who showed signs of latent ability when sixth in a Worcester bumper. Described as big and backward that day, he will be better over further once he goes hurdling as he is related to Shuil Ar Aghaidh who won the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1993, and may well pop up at a monster price at some time in the months ahead.
In conclusion, the yard missed out on a hundred winners last season much to their disgust and will be pulling out all the stops this year to make sure they crack the magic number once again, and with the more exposed horses such as Menorah and Planet Of Sound sure to deliver plenty of prize money and victories once again, it is only left for me to wish them the best of luck, and thank them for their time (as well as coffee and biscuits) and look forward to backing a hat full of winners from the yard â€“ and hoping you all do the same!
Philip Hobbs yard (last five years):
28% strike rate at Bangor On Dee showing +Â£22.71 profit to Â£1 stakes
16% strike rate at Sandown showing +Â£21.93 profit to Â£1 stakes
22% strike rate at Wincanton showing +Â£36.49 profit to Â£1 stakes
Total Prize Money last season: Â£595,545.93
Total winners last season 86 (6 bumpers, 50 hurdles, 30 chases).
Sean Trivass writes as Sir Ivor as well as running his own tipping service and can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.
With thanks to Chepstow racecourse, and all the staff at the Hobbs yard.