Jack Hobbs hits rivals for six as he delivers in style for Gosden
Jack Hobbs, the 2015 Irish Derby hero who missed most of last season due to injury, made a stunning start to his five-year-old career with an impressive win in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
The Roger Varian-trained Postponed, last year's winner, was sent off 7-4 favourite to pull off a repeat but could finish only third.
Trained by John Gosden, Jack Hobbs is owned by Godolphin & Partners, including Rachel Hood, wife of the winning trainer.
The result was a triumph for Gosden, who has had to be patient as the horse was injured on his return to action last April and not seen out again until an excellent third in the Champion Stakes.
Jack Hobbs's first start in the Godolphin silks was a second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Derby at Epsom, and among those he beat there was fifth-placed Highland Reel, who tried to make all on this occasion.
Found a lovely rhythm
Enjoying an easy lead under Ryan Moore, the Aidan O'Brien-trained five-year-old was tracked by William Buick on the winner, with Postponed and Andrea Atzeni just behind.
Keen enough in first-time blinkers, Jack Hobbs appeared to relax on the back straight and found a lovely rhythm.
Turning into the straight, Moore asked Highland Reel to quicken, but the response was disappointing and they folded tamely to finish last as Adrie De Vries and Prize Money, in the second Godolphin silks, threw down a short-lived challenge for Saeed Bin Suroor.
Jack Hobbs moved to the front two furlongs out, with Postponed looking the main danger, but Buick did not appear keen to go for home and waited half a furlong before pressing the button.
Jack Hobbs pulled away with minimum effort to win by two and a quarter lengths to leave Postponed trailing, and it was left to O’Brien’s second runner, Seventh Heaven, to chase home the winner.
Jack Hobbs was giving Buick and Gosden their second victory in the race, following Dar Re Mi's success in 2010. It was the first triumph in the contest for a horse in Godolphin colours since Rewilding in 2011.
A delighted Gosden said: “We earmarked this race for him some time ago now and put the blinkers on him tonight. We knew the galloping track would suit him and this is his ideal trip.
“The rain was a bonus as he certainly handles a bit of cut. There may only have been seven runners but it was a strong race and it was a good performance.
“We'll take him home and make a plan for him with Sheikh Mohammed.”
The trainer indicated the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot could be on the agenda before a tilt at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Representing Godolphin, John Ferguson added: “That's a brilliant training performance because we all know this horse had his problems last year.
“John identified this race as a good early season target and the horse ended up having a quiet season last year but showed at Ascot he retained all his ability.
“Sheikh Mohammed has the utmost faith in John and it's easy to see why when he brings a horse here to do that after so many problems.”
Buick was impressed and said: “He has relished the ground and was staying on very strongly at the end.
“I was always pretty happy on him and we had a lovely lead from Highland Reel. I wanted to take my time and not go for home too early but he quickened well when I asked him.
“John Gosden, we all know, is an excellent trainer and this is further proof.”