Hobbs takes Haydock double

Philip Hobbs may have drawn a blank at the Cheltenham Festival but he has his string in tremendous heart and advertised the fact yet again with a double at Haydock.

Philip Hobbs may have drawn a blank at the Cheltenham Festival but he has his string in tremendous heart and advertised the fact yet again with a double at Haydock.

Fresh from a five-timer on Tuesday and a Chepstow double on Wednesday, the Minehead trainer was on the mark with two odds-on scorers, Spanish Conquest (4-5) and Prince Taime (4-7), both ridden by promising young jockey Rhys Flint.

The latter was winning the feature race of the day, the Business Doctors "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle but unfortunately only five of the 12 declared runners went to post as the ground was quickening up all the time.

Having finished third in the Imperial Cup on his last start Prince Taime was entitled to win but Flake made him pull out all the stops.

Asked whether the winner would come back to the track for the Swinton Hurdle, Hobbs said: "When he was third in the Imperial Cup he stayed on well so we thought we would try him over two and a half miles and I think we will stick to that now.

"There is a handicap over that trip at Aintree in a fortnight and he will probably go for that."

Flint was riding his first winners at the course, and said: "I'm very grateful to Mr Hobbs, he gives me some good rides and it is nice to make the best of them."

Spanish Conquest had won at Kempton earlier in the week and relished the quicker ground in the Lewis Alexander Connoughton Handicap Hurdle, beating Stoop To Conquer by 12 lengths.

"He likes this ground, he's won two in a week and they have been good prizes each time," said Hobbs.

"There are some options for him next week but we'll get him home first before we decide what to do."

Sue Smith pulled off a feat not many trainers can lay claim to by saddling the first three home in the Business Doctors Handicap Chase - but not in the order punters envisaged.

Ela Re was sent off at 16-1 and the outsider of the Smith trio but led home Daldini (4-1) and Crozan (9-2).

"That's the first time I've ever had a one-two-three," said Smith.

"He's a law unto himself. You can try and do what you want to do with him but he will only do what he wants to do.

"He's always wins a race at this time of year and I thought he would run well."

Shrewd Investor (12-1) had failed to finish in five of his last six races but that did not stop him walking away with the Business Doctors Franchising handicap Chase.

Given a patient ride by Michael O'Connell, he joined Adare Prince early in the straight before powering away to beat 5-2 favourite Ngong Hills by five lengths.

"He has just found it a bit difficult transferring from hurdles to chasing, he hadn't taken to it all that well," said winning trainer Harry Hogarth.

"He has had one or two niggling little problems but is now coming back to himself and what he should be like."

Danny Zucko landed the Warrington Business School "Fixed Brush" Novices' Hurdle for Donald McCain and Paul Benson.

"He's an ex-Paul Nicholls horse and a wind operation seems to have made all the difference to him," said McCain's mother Beryl.

Ferdy Murphy took the concluding two events through Watch My Back (100-30) in the Judith Foden Memorial Novices' Chase, and Mister Wall Street (5-2), an impressive winner of the bumper.

Middleham handler Murphy has his eyes on the valuable Punchestown bumper next month for the latter, who created a huge impression.

"He's a nice horse, we were able get to work with him pretty quickly as he came from the breeze-ups," said Murphy.

"He goes for the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown on April 28 now."

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