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Owner Rich Ricci believes Thomas Hobson is well handicapped for the Melbourne Cup

Thomas Hobson couldn’t jump over a twig but owner Rich Ricci believes the former hurdler is well handicapped for the Melbourne Cup, provided he can handle his wide barrier.

Ricci has returned for another attempt at the $6 million Melbourne Cup he failed to win by a half-length two years ago.

Runner-up Max Dynamite is also back, while Ricci’s second runner Thomas Hobson got his start when the New Zealand-trained Jon Snow was ruled out.

London-based Ricci bought his 50 or 60 horses to jump. Both Max Dynamite and Thomas Hobson were deemed to have failed.

To be fair, Thomas Hobson did win a grade two hurdle at Warwick last year but still didn’t make the grade.

“He couldn’t jump a twig so we decided we’d try him on the flat,” Ricci said.

Ricci says Thomas Hobson ($15) is well handicapped at 52kg under jockey Joao Moreira, but predicts barrier 21 could be a problem.

“Thomas Hobson’s a bit like his owner, a bit mad,” he said.

“If he sees all that daylight he just might go on, and if he does, no chance.

“But if we can tuck him in and he gets some cover he’ll have a big chance because I think he’s well handicapped.”

Thomas Hobson also needs a good pace, Ricci said, whereas a muddling speed with a sprint finish would suit Max Dynamite better.

Max Dynamite ($16) has been lightly raced since the 2015 Cup.

Ricci puts that down to niggles – a little muscle sore here, a little bone crack there.

“He likes the track. He’s going well. I wouldn’t discount him at all,” he said.

“I’d say if he did the same campaign as Thomas Hobson who is race hardened and race fit, he’d be a much shorter price.”

Ricci rates the 2017 Cup field as weaker than in 2015.

“Two years ago you had Big Orange, you had all these horses that have gone on to do wonderful things.

“It’s a great field, a great international field, but Australia doesn’t seem to have the kind of stayers that they can produce and they seem to be buying them in.

“But two years ago they seemed to have a few anyway.”

Max Dynamite and Thomas Hobson are both trained by Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who also has Wicklow Brave back for another go.

 
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