Royal Ascot among the targets for resurgent Jack Hobbs
John Gosden has earmarked the Coronation Cup, Royal Ascot and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as potential targets for Jack Hobbs following his impressive return to winning form in Dubai last Saturday.
The trainer said winning the Dubai Sheema Classic with a horse who missed most of last season with a stress fracture was "very fulfilling", and that the plan now was to give him a break before starting a mid-season campaign.
The five-year-old, in whom the trainer's wife Rachel Hood owns a share in a partnership with Godolphin, completed his first victory since 2015 when he beat a field containing two of last season's middle-distance stars Postponed and Highland Reel at Meydan.
Jack Hobbs appeared only twice last year after being pulled up at Newmarket in April, before returning to finish third in the Champion Stakes in October.
"Jack Hobbs had a wonderful 2015, winning the Irish Derby, finishing second in the Derby and Dante, and probably hit the front way too soon in the Champion Stakes," Gosden said on Tuesday.
"He did have a look at the top of the grandstand that year. He looks about when he hits the front. We started the next year and he must have injured himself leaving the starting gate.
"Fortunately William [Buick] was sensitive to the fact he wasn't right and pulled him up. It wasn't a great deal of fun walking down to the Dip to see how he'd be, but the great thing was he walked off the track and 24 hours later we found a stress fracture of the pelvis, very similar to what I'm told Douvan had from Cheltenham.
"We had the whole year trying to get him right again, which we did. I thought he ran a great race behind Almanzor and Arc winner Found. Again he was a bit dreamy in the race, came wide and late, which was why we would put something [blinkers] on to focus the horse because he's inclined to look at everything.
"He travelled beautifully through the race at Meydan. He settled after three furlongs and travelled best of all then. Rather as with Dar Re Mi William didn't hit the button as soon as they straightened, he waited to the two marker and away he went. It was very fulfilling."
Jack Hobbs has already returned to Newmarket and Gosden said he will look at the major Group 1s at ten and 12 furlongs.
"We have to think mid-season now and look at Royal Ascot, Coronation Cup and the King George, then have little freshen and hopefully look towards the autumn," he said. "Having done what he's done we've a month of freshening, which is pleasant."
Gosden said the performance of Arrogate to win the Dubai World Cup after being forced to come from the back after missing the break "topped off a great evening".
He said: "It was extraordinary how he overcame his difficulties. He's a beautiful horse with a lovely head on him.
"I've never seen a dirt horse with an action like that. He has an incredible stretch and like all great athletes seems to have all the time in the world. Nothing is rushed about him. He is like a really long-striding turf horse on dirt, which is most unusual.
"Rather like Roger Federer he does everything with such ease. It's quite unique. He really topped off a great evening."