Champions Day 2016: John Gosden has Jack Hobbs in ‘great order’ for Champion Stakes  

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Fascinating Rock and jockey Pat Smullen after winning the 2015 QIPCO Champion Stakes.

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JACK HOBBS is in ‘great order’ ahead of his belated return against a star-studded field in the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, John Gosden has revealed.

Jack Hobbs – winner of the 2015 Irish Derby and runner-up to stable mate Golden Horn in the Investec Derby – was sent off favourite for last year’s Champion Stakes where he finished third to Fascinating Rock and Found who both reoppose.

The superb field in Saturday’s renewal also includes Almanzor, the winner of the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes from Found, who won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at her next start.

The four-year-old Jack Hobbs has not raced since he was pulled up and dismounted in a Group 2 at Newmarket in April and Gosden believes the son of Halling has benefitted from the break.

“He’s in great form and we’re very pleased to hopefully have him back on Saturday,” the trainer said.

“The field is not only deep but very strong and I don’t think that we’re under any illusions.

“I thought that Almanzor’s performance in the Irish Champion was undoubtedly the best performance of any three-year-old this year, in fact any horse in Europe this year. I thought it was quite scintillating, his acceleration, so I see him clearly as the horse to beat.

“With 19 around there, if they all stand their ground, you’re going to have to have a bit of luck in running,” Gosden said earlier this week.

“Jack Hobbs has strengthened well, he’s had the summer off, and actually it’s given him time to develop. Given his sire, they get better with age and I think that the time has benefitted him enormously.

“He’s in great order for it, a mile and a quarter is no problem for him and he’s not a type that’s ring-rusty. He won very well first time up as a three-year-old, but we’re aware that we are coming back in a fantastic renewal of the race.”

Jack Hobbs is available at 14-1 and looks a great each way bet in the feature of the six-race card on QIPCO British Champions Day. The lucrative fixture carries total prize money of £4.26 million and is the richest race day in Britain.

“Champions Day has been the realisation of an ambition of ours and I know that Sheikh Fahad and his brothers are delighted that the event keeps growing in stature year on year and we just want the upward curve to keep going,”  David Redvers, racing manager for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani of sponsors QIPCO, said.

“Again, it looks like we have got some of the best racing of the year anywhere in the world on Saturday and that’s something we can be proud of. We want it to be widely respected as the greatest racing day in the world and we keep making giant strides towards that.”

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.

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