Trainer Willie Mullins has revealed that Thomas Hobson will be set for the 2017 Melbourne Cup after the talented gelding produced a superior staying effort to win the Ascot Stakes (4014m) in Britain overnight.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Ryan Moore elected to take a position at the tail of the 18-horse field with Thomas Hobson as the Ascot Stakes’ early leaders ensured that the race would be run at a genuine tempo.
Having experienced a carefree run in transit, the Halling gelding remained at the rear of the pack as the field straightened and simply appeared to have too much work to do, to be crowned Ascot Stakes winner.
Immediately responding when asked for an extra effort however, Thomas Hobson produced an impressive turn of foot to fly home on the outside of his rivals and record the ninth win of his racing career.
Mullins, who went close to winning the Melbourne Cup when Max Dynamite finished second behind Prince Of Penzance in 2015, was understandably thrilled with Thomas Hobson’s performance and said that the horse will target the world’s richest two-mile handicap this year.
“Ryan was just super on him, wasn’t he? He obviously had a clock working in his head today. It’s fantastic,” Mullins said after the race.
“I think we’d like to go to Melbourne (Cup) with him, that’s the end game. To have a winner at a Festival like this is magic, as good as Cheltenham any day of the week.”
Moore, a Melbourne Cup winner himself aboard the Andreas Wohler-trained Protectionist in 2014, delivered a gem of a ride aboard Thomas Hobson and was delighted with the horse’s performance.
“They went a strong pace and I just let him warm into it,” he said.
“I was always confident I was going to pick them up and through Swinley Bottom I could see them slowing down and I just wanted a clear run.
“He’s won very easily, like all Willie’s horses when they come here and you know they are going to stay.”
Following his impressive performance over 4014m, Thomas Hobson has been installed at 2017 Melbourne Cup odds of $21 at Ladbrokes.com.au.