Hobbs relies on youth as he eyes another successful campaign
Philip Hobbs is pinning many of his hopes for the autumn and winter months on a number of youngsters and novice chasers in his north Somerset yard as he fears many of the older and proven performers might struggle with their handicap marks after a successful 2016-17 season.
At his annual owners' day on Sunday, Hobbs said: “We've a number of potentially decent younger horses among the team and they're important as far as the future is concerned over hurdles and fences.
"I hope the ex-French pair of Demopolis and Dostal Phil, who won on their only starts in their native country, can pay their way.
“Demopolis won over hurdles at Auteuil in May and arrived last month – he looks a lovely prospect for the juvenile hurdle division and will run in a couple of months or so.
"Dostal Phil came to us via the Arqana Sale after winning an AQPS Flat race at Deauville and the hope is he can develop into a nice novice hurdle type."
He added: “We've also always liked Who’s My Jockey and he made a winning debut in a Market Rasen bumper last April. He's well-bred, being a half-brother to dual Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly, and will now go hurdling. He's very likely to start off over a stiff two miles."
On the novice chase front, Hobbs is keen on the likes of War Sound, Wait For Me, Sternrubin, Sneaky Feeling and Strong Pursuit, with the quintet considered capable of surpassing what they achieved over hurdles.
He said: “War Sound aggravated a joint problem last year and had to miss the whole of last season as a result, but he's a former Swinton Hurdle winner and rated 148 over hurdles.
"He'll be going novice chasing, as will Wait For Me, who makes his debut over fences at Worcester on Monday. He was a shade unlucky last time over hurdles and I think chasing will really suit him.
“Sneaky Feeling and Strong Pursuit were always going to be better suited by fences. Sneaky Feeling gave the impression he was still quite green last season and chasing will be his game, but we might give him one run over hurdles beforehand.
"Strong Pursuit has come back from his summer break a much stronger horse and will be going straight over fences.”
Sternrubin is likely to try to emulate his former stablemates Detroit City and Big Easy in bidding to win the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket next month, before switching back to jumping to try his hand novice chasing.
Hobbs said: “He's a 20-1 chance for the Newmarket handicap at present and could take in the Cesarewitch trial at the course next Saturday.
"His future over jumps for the rest of the autumn lies in novice chases as he's just the type who can make his presence felt in that division.”
Gumball a dark horse
Asked to name a horse from his team that Racing Post readers should keep on the right side, the trainer said: “I'm quite keen on Gumball, who ran third on his only start in the French provinces at Dieppe in the spring. The form might not look that special but he's a very interesting recruit.”