Menorah: won the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree last termPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Hobbs stars could clash in Haldon Gold Cup
PHILIP HOBBS could start off both Menorah and Captain Chris in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on November 6.
The Grade 2 contest, which will be sponsored by Sportingbet for the first time, was last won by Hobbs in 2009 with Planet Of Sound and the trainer would have a strong hand should the duo turn up.
Menorah finished third in the Racing Post Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival last season, before winning a Grade 1 at Aintree then finishing fourth on his last run at Punchestown in the Ryanair Novice Chase.
Hobbs said: "We are looking at the Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup for Menorah and he is very likely to start his season off there. He is in good form and seems fine at the moment. It's a case of seeing how he gets on at Exeter before deciding what route he will go down this season."
Captain Chris was sent off 2-1 favourite for last year's Haldon Gold Cup, but unseated Richard Johnson, with Medermit winning for Alan King.
The eight-year-old returned to form when fourth in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, and Hobbs added: "Captain Chris ran in the Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup last year and he is likely to run as well. He ran a good race when fourth in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and it was pleasing to see him return to a bit of form."
Sportingbet's decision to sponsor the race adds another contest to its 'Road to Cheltenham' series, which incorporates the Tingle Creek at Sandown and Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.