Philip Hobbs, born in 1955, is the son of Tony Hobbs who had a permit to train for many years, breeding several good horses to run in the family colours.
Unlike many trainers who went into the industry at a very young age, Hobbs opted to study at Reading University where he achieved a BSc honours degree. Following that he rode several point-to-point and National Hunt winners as an amateur before turning professional at the age of 21.
He rode 160 winners in a ten-year career including The Black and White Gold Cup at Ascot, The Killiney Novice Chase, and The Midlands Grand National but with a career as a trainer firmly in mind, whilst still riding professionally, he started training in August 1985 with only 6 horses.
Hobbs has had a very successful career with 15 wins at Cheltenham and in the last five seasons has had over 490 winners. Despite all of this and the fact that he has sent out 27 Grand National runners since 1990 he has never actually won it.
Philip Hobbs Grand National Record
His two best finishes in the race came in 2002 when What’s Up Boys finished 2nd. He followed that up with another second-place finish with Balthazar King in 2014. More recently his record in the race hasn’t improved. In 2015, Chance Du Roy finished 10th and neither of his two entries finished the race in 2016.
Philip Hobbs didn’t saddle any Grand National runners in either 2017 or 2018 and for 2019 entered and ran the much-fancied Rock The Kasbah. Ridden by Richard Johnson, he went off at odds of 16/1 and completed the first circuit of the course successfully. However, he was brought down at the open ditch at fence 19.
Back again for the 2020 Grand National, Hobbs has only one entry in Steely Addition. Given how light he is on experience, particularly over long distances, it looks like Philip Hobbs may have to wait another year before having a chance at winning a Grand National.
Follow Philip Hobbs on Twitter here.
Johnson played second fiddle to AP McCoy for much of his long and successful career. He was finally crowned champion jockey for the first time in 2016, which was duly deserved after being runner up to AP McCoy for 16 seasons. Throughout his career, he has ridden over 3,000 winners but has never won the Grand National.
In fact, he currently holds the record for most Grand National runs without a win. As the first choice jockey for Philip Hobbs, much of his reliance for the win rests on the horses that Hobbs sends out in the Grand National. So it’s no surprise that his two best finishes were in 2014 on Balthazar King and Beat The Boys in 2002 – both second place.
Will he race in the 2020 Grand National? That depends on his recovery from an injury sustained in January when he broke his arm. And of course, whether or not Hobbs sends out a runner.
On the good news front, Johnson was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Horse Racing.