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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Hobbs keen to split pairHeadlines
Wishfull Thinking

Philip Hobbs is to run the Diana Whateley-owned pair of Wishfull Thinking and Menorah in separate races at Cheltenham.

The former is likely to take on Sprinter Sacre in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase, leaving Menorah to take up his sole engagement at the Festival in the Ryanair Chase.

"Realistically Wishfull Thinking will probably run in the Champion Chase because Menorah will run in the Ryanair. It's the same ownership," Hobbs told At The Races.

"If we could guarantee second now I'd be delighted to have second prize money because that's not going to be easy either, as you would expect in a Champion Chase. I'm sure there will be other horses in there we'd be worried about.

"For Menorah, at least the Ryanair is more open than the Champion Chase, but it is obviously more competitive. Two and a half is probably the right trip for him because we thought he just about got the three miles at Newbury last time. If everything goes right on the day he'd have a strong an each-way chance."

Hobbs has yet to decide whether to run the 2011 Weatherbys Champion Bumper winner Cheltenian at the Festival.

The seven-year-old made a highly encouraging return after being sidelined through injury since then when touched off on the line by Minella Forfitness on his debut over hurdles at Doncaster last week.

The William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle would be his target should he go to Cheltenham in a fortnight's time.

Hobbs went on: "We thought we'd won, but the angles at Doncaster play tricks. He ran a fantastic race and we were very pleased.

"We are undecided what we are going to do. If he does run at Cheltenham I'd imagine he'll be running in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the two-mile race. Whether we run now or find something easier and then go on to Aintree I need to talk to Roger (Brookhouse, owner) about it. We'll see nearer the time."

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