Thursday 23 November 2017

Hobbs hazy over Captain target

How Captain Chris performs in his next race will determine whether he lines up in the Ryanair Chase or the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

Philip Hobbs' charge has endured an interrupted campaign this term, but still finished third in the King George on St Stephen's Day, his first run over three miles. Yet even that performance left Hobbs scratching his head.

"I think he's got a lot to prove as yet," said the Minehead handler.

"You would want everything in your favour for a Gold Cup. The Ryanair is definitely an option and I'd like to run him beforehand as that will tell us which direction we are going to go."

Trainer Victor Dartnall is to wait for the handicapper's assessment of Giles Cross before making any plans for his dual Welsh National runner-up. "We'll see what the handicapper does and go on from there," said Dartnall.

Dartnall intends to resist any temptation to run Roudoudou Ville again before the Cheltenham Festival.

"It's likely we'll wait for the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham," said Dartnall. "I don't want to run him and get his mark affected."

Tocca Ferro may have his first run in over a year in the Imperial Cup at Sandown in March.

"He's back being ridden and everything has been good so far," said trainer Emma Lavelle.

Lavelle, meanwhile, hopes Penny Max will develop into a future Hennessy Gold Cup contender.

"He's only six so is still filling out his frame, but he is improving massively race by race and I still think there's more to come," she said.

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