Philip Hobbs has been a mainstay of British horse racing for many years, mainly thanks to his success over jumps, but he’s often targeted staying handicaps on the flat, too, to keep himself busy during the summer months. He’s had success at the highest level, with multiple wins at the Cheltenham Festival, including in the big Championship races at the meeting.
Born on July 26th, 1955, Hobbs has had his fair share of talent through his stable doors, with the likes of Rooster Booster and Flagship Uberalles leading the way in the early 2000s. He’s managed to win the Welsh Grand National, but not the race at Aintree, one that continues to elude this high-profile trainer.
He’s been close in the past, as Hobbs has seen two of his runners finish second in the Grand National, What’s Up Boys in 2002 and more recently, Balthazar King in 2014. But success continues to elude Hobbs with this race, despite him having a fair number of runners over the years and his yard usually having some nice staying chase horses.
Philip Hobbs Grand National Wins
Philip Hobbs has never trained a horse that has won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2014 with Balthazar King ridden by Richard Johnson OBE who came 2nd.
Cheltenham Festival Success
Philip Hobbs has found plenty of success at the Cheltenham Festival over the years and always sends a strong number of runners to the national hunt showpiece each year. One of his most loved horses, and one that won at the Cheltenham Festival for him on two occasions, was Rooster Booster. He first won the County Handicap Hurdle in 2002 before progressing through the ranks and winning the Champion Hurdle in 2003, probably regarded as the second most important race of the entire meeting.
In 2002, Flagship Uberalles won the Champion Chase, landing another one of the championship races for Hobbs. Over the years, he’s also won the Arkle Chase, RSA Chase, Triumph Hurdle, Supreme Novice Hurdle and the Champion Bumper, as well as many other contests at the meeting. With his Cheltenham record, Hobbs has shown his ability to get a top-quality horse ready for the big day and deliver against the very best.
The Dream Alliance Story
One of the most famous horses to run for Philip Hobbs was Dream Alliance, a horse that eventually saw a film made about his career due to the incredible nature in which it unfolded. The film, released in 2015, gave some great exposure to the Hobbs yard and was very well received.
The horse was bred and owned by a syndicate of people in a village in South Wales. They bought his mum for £350 and sent her to Bien Bien, leading to the birth of Dream Alliance in 2001. They each put together, paying £10 per week, with 23 people owning the horse in total, paying for his training costs on a weekly basis. The local barmaid bred the horse, the first time she’d ever bred a horse, though she had previous experience with whippets and racing pigeons, while another owner, Howard Davies, was named as syndicate manager.
After care on an allotment in his early years, Dream Alliance was sent to Philip Hobbs to begin is racing career. He wasn’t a prolific winner but did manage to land a hurdle race on his fourth start. Later in his career, during a prep run for the Grand National, the horse sliced a tendon, and it is said that his jockey and the urgings of syndicate manager Howard Davies were the only things that prevented him from being euthanised on the track.
A long road back took the horse to his greatest day. He won the 2009 Welsh Grand National, just months after returning to train, of course, a sweet moment for his Welsh owners. He would go on to run in the 2010 Grand National and featured in a lot of media coverage before the race, but he wasn’t able to complete the course, pulling up after the 7th fence.
The horse was retired from racing in 2012, failing to win another race, and then three years later, in 2015, the film about his career and the people behind the horse was released.
Famous Horses Trained By Philip Hobbs
Here are some of the most famous horses trained by Philip Hobbs.
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