Trainer Philip Hobbs has enjoyed a good start to the 2018/19 Jump season, with 21 winners on the board so far, and is looking forward to the first Cheltenham meeting next week.
Hobbs is hoping that classy four-year-old Gumball will line up in the £40,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.35pm), which takes place over two miles on the Saturday.
The son of No Risk At All enjoyed a fine 2017/18 campaign, which included taking second in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
The grey, who runs in the colours of Champion Hurdle-winning owner Terry Warner, finished last season with a ready six-length success over two miles in a novice event at Ludlow. He was also successful in the early part of the season with two comfortable victories at Chepstow and Stratford in October, 2017.
Hobbs, who trains at Sandhill Racing Stables, Bilbrook, Somerset, revealed: “Gumball had a very good time of it last season and ran some excellent races.
“It is never easy with four-year-olds going into this second season, but we are aiming him at the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham at the end of October.
“Hopefully, he has another good season.”
First run in 2009, the Masterson Holdings Hurdle has rapidly established itself as an attractive early-season target for four-year-old hurdlers.
The roll of honour includes Tiger Roll, who took the spoils for owner Gigginstown House Stud and trainer Gordon Elliott in 2014. Tiger Roll had landed the JCB Triumph Hurdle earlier in 2014 and has since won another two races at The Festival™ presented by Magners – the 2017 National Hunt Chase and the 2018 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
Following his Festival success in 2018, Tiger Roll went on to gain the biggest prize in Jump racing, the Grand National at Aintree.
Other high-class winners of the Masterson Holdings Hurdle include Dodging Bullets (2012), who was subsequently successful in the 2015 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Sceau Royal (2016), who progressed to score over hurdles and at the top level over fences.
Hes No Trouble set for The Showcase
Hes No Trouble is one of three horses for the new racehorse ownership syndicate, The Jockey Club Cheltenham & South West Syndicate which has just been launched.
The first racehorse ownership syndicate organised by the Cheltenham & South West region of The Jockey Club was a great success during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Jump campaigns.
For a one-off fee of £2,950, membership of The Jockey Club Cheltenham & South West Syndicate lasts for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Jump seasons and includes the racing of three horses and membership of Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton racecourses as well as plenty of other benefits and experiences.
Hes No Trouble is set to make his first start under Rules this autumn, having won his only start to date in a point-to-point at Dromahane, Ireland, when he was successful by three lengths.
The five-year-old son of Scorpion, sire of 2017 RSA Chase victor and 2018 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup second Might Bite, is out of She’s No Trouble, herself a full-sister to 2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup scorer Looks Like Trouble.
Trained by Kim Bailey, Hes No Trouble is pleasing the trainer and a tilt at The Showcase meeting is a possibility.
Bailey, who trains near to Cheltenham at Thorndale Farm in Andoversford, Gloucestershire, said: “I’m very honoured to be training for The Jockey Club Cheltenham & South West Syndicate and hopefully Hes No Trouble can be a horse who does very well for them.
“He has had one run in a point-to-point and has worked well at home. We hope to start him off at one of the earlier Cheltenham meetings, either at The Showcase or The November Meeting. He is a very nice horse with a big future.
“We are delighted to have our first horse for the syndicate and he’s very much a chaser in the making.”