CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL Notebook
THYME HILL’S run in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase will be the first for the new training partnership of Philip Hobbs and his long-time assistant Johnson White. Hobbs (right) has a long and distinguished Festival record with 20 winners, starting with Kibreet in the 1996 in the Grand Annual Chase. His most recent Festival winner was Defi Du Seuil in the 2019 Turners Novices’ Chase. But it will be a proud moment for White to have his name on the licence for the first time. White, assistant to Hobbs since 1995, said: ‘There is obviously no better place to start, especially if he managed to win.’
Hobbs and White also run Camprond and Sporting John in the Coral Cup and Deise Aba in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
SANDY THOMSON was a successful rugby player before he started training, including playing for the South of Scotland against the mighty All Blacks.
He chases his first Festival win in the Coral Cup with Ryan Mania-ridden Benson and there is an extra incentive to be successful. First prize is £56,000 but Benson is also in line for a £100,000 bonus if he can add the Coral Cup to his recent win in Kelso’s Morebattle Hurdle.