Thinking's home free
Wishfull Thinking gave weight and a beating to his rivals in the freebets.com Trophy Chase at Cheltenham.
The 11-year-old has won this Grade Three contest over an extended two miles five in 2011 and proved that he was no back number with a defeat of the hat-trick seeking novice Double Ross.
The latter was one of several runners who ensured that this was run at a demanding pace and the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner saw off the attentions of first Our Mick and then Kumbeshwar.
The challengers kept coming with Shangani, Cedre Bleu and Renard both coming through to attempt to contest the lead but Double Ross kept rolling and kept them all at bay.
The patiently ridden Alflora gelding was brought through wide and late by Richard Johnson and the December Gold Cup winner had no answer to Wishfull Thinking's challenge.
The margin of defeat was a length and three quarters with a further five lengths back to the well-supported Tap Night who was never nearer than at the line.
Johnson, successful earlier on Le Rocher, said: "This ground isn't ideal for his wind but they've done a good job at home to get him relaxed. The horses are in great form and making my job a lot easier.
"When we set off up the run-in he's really battled today. We were giving Double Ross weight and I thought that might tell in the last 100 yards but he stuck at it really well."
Hobbs added: "It's amazing, he's 11 and we still really don't know if he's a two- or three-miler.
"I suppose it's back to conditions races now. Aintree is ideal, while there's still the place money in the Champion Chase and the handicaps here to consider."