Philip Hobbs today expressed himself “delighted” with Rooster Booster after the gelding’s gutsy performance in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The grey was only caught on the run-in by Harchibald after Richard Johnson employed bold front-running tactics that took him around 25 lengths clear of the pack at one point.
His stamina was stretched to the limit by the final flight and he could not stop the current Smurfit Champion Hurdle favourite from passing him.
Rooster Booster will be given a break before having a choice of warm-up race in February ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, where he will attempt to regain his Champion Hurdle crown.
“We are delighted with him really,” Hobbs told At The Races. “It is never ideal to make the running, but at least we can do that if we want to. I thought he ran a terrific race bearing that in mind.
“I don’t think he is going to run for a bit. We will give him a couple of weeks easy, and I imagine he would run at either Sandown in early February (the Agfa Hurdle) or in the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury in the middle of February.”
Rooster Booster is available at around 14-1 for the Champion Hurdle and is behind six horses in the market, all of them trained in Ireland.
Hobbs joked: There aren’t too many other Englishmen in the betting, so maybe they should ban the Irish this year!
“Mind you, the Irish horses keep on beating each other, so maybe that gives us a chance.”