The Melbourne Cup is the end of year target for Thomas Hobson who stormed to victory under a super confident ride from Ryan Moore in the Ascot Stakes.
The seven-year-old provided Willie Mullins with a fifth Royal Ascot win and owners Rich and Susannah Ricci a first win at the meeting.
Moore has now ridden all five of Mullins’s Ascot winners including two in Tuesday's 2m4f event with Simenon in 2012 and Clondaw Warrior in 2015.
Simenon went on to complete a double at the meeting five years ago when following up in the Queen Alexandra Stakes and it’s possible that Thomas Hobson might try and emulate him on Saturday.
Mullins said: “He’s in the Queen Alexandra but we’ll wait and see how he comes out of today’s race before deciding if he’ll turn out again.”
Moore brought Thomas Hobson, a four-time winner over hurdles and who had not run on the Flat since scoring his fourth victory for John Gosden in October 2013, from the back of the field to win, going away, by six lengths.
"There was a strong pace and I just got him warmed into it. I was always confident I was going to pick them up and at Swinley Bottom I thought they were slowing up all the way. He's won easily, " Moore said.
Mullins said: “Ryan made it happen and booking him probably made Thomas Hobson favourite. I spoke to John [Gosden] yesterday and he said that when Thomas Hobson was a younger horse he didn’t like fast ground. But he’s older and more mature now and he handled the conditions well.
“Although he’s won a few times over hurdles, he’s never been that fluent a jumper. Every year when we get Cheltenham and Punchestown out of the way, we put a few aside for the Flat. We made a few entries for this week but Thomas Hobson is the only one we brought.”
Regarding plans for the winner, Mullins said: “We’ll see about York and possibly the Lonsdale Cup while the Irish St Leger is also part of the plan. But we have unfinished business in Australia and the Melbourne Cup is definitely on the agenda, if we can get him him in the ratings.”
Paddy Power go 25-1 (from 50-1) about Thomas Hobson for the Melbourne Cup.
Ascot Stakes result