Thomas Hobson back for more

Thomas Hobson bids to double up at Royal Ascot

Willie Mullins sends Thomas Hobson into battle for the second time this week when he runs in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

The seven-year-old carried the familiar colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci to an impressive victory in the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday and returns to action just four days later for the concluding race of the meeting.

The Mullins-trained Simenon completed the double in 2012 and Ireland's all-conquering National Hunt trainer is hopeful Thomas Hobson can repeat the feat in this two-mile-five-furlong conditions stakes.

"He's come out of the race on Tuesday well. He's eating and drinking and we're happy with him," said the Closutton handler.

"I suppose we'd like one or two of those showers that are forecast to fall – that would be a help – but we're happy to let him take his chance."

Mullins mentioned the Melbourne Cup as a potential long-term target after Thomas Hobson's triumph earlier in the week, but added: "We'll take it as it comes."

Martin Harley takes over in the saddle from Ryan Moore, who is committed to riding US Army Ranger for Aidan O'Brien.

Harley said: "It's exciting getting the ride. He was very impressive the other day.

"Track and conditions are no problem and he is obviously fresh and well as he (Mullins) has declared him. If everything goes according to plan he will definitely have a big shout.

"It's probably about my 10th ride for Willie. I rode three or four for him at Royal Ascot last year.

"He's a good trainer to have a nice ride for. He's a trainer that everyone looks forward to riding for, whether it is on the Flat or over the jumps.

"It looks like he is one of best chances of the week. It is a hard place to get winners but if you are not on a horse with a chance you can't get winners."

US Army Ranger is a fascinating contender for O'Brien and Moore.

The Galileo colt was favourite for the Epsom Derby only 12 months ago and ran a fine race to finish second behind Harzand.

However, he came home last of 10 runners on his latest appearance in the Coronation Cup and goes a mile further than he has ever been in his career.

The Godolphin team are doubly represented with Saeed bin Suroor's Winning Story and the Charlie Appleby-trained Qewy.

Qewy ran an excellent race to finish fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup and makes his first appearance since winning a Listed race in Australia just 11 days later.

Appleby said: "He comes into this well. Obviously it is first start since he was in Australia, where he put up some good performances.

"He was a winner of a Listed race over there and doesn't carry a penalty.

"I really do feel he deserves to be in it and doesn't look out of place.

"He's a dour stayer and does what it says on the tin. He will be out there grinding away at the end."

Other contenders include Mark Johnston's Oriental Fox, who won this race in 2015, Joseph O'Brien's Motherland and Hughie Morrison's pair of Fun Mac and Vent De Force.


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