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Colour Squadron will bid to enhance his Cheltenham Festival claims by securing another victory over hurdles at Newbury on Friday.

The Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old beat the talented Montbazon at the Berkshire track in December and confirmed that promise with a tremendous run in defeat in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, going down by only a short head to Captain Conan.

The latter let the form down with a no-show in Ireland at the weekend, but Hobbs remains positive about Colour Squadron’s prospects for next month’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

“Richard (Johnson) actually just schooled him and the plan is to run him at Newbury on Friday. A little more experience wouldn’t do him any harm,” Hobbs said.

“Nicky Henderson’s horse obviously disappointed in Ireland, but you can’t just go on one horse disappointing and I think the rest of the form is pretty good.

“He’s not a great, big, strong horse, but he’s a horse with plenty of ability and very much the right attitude.”

Hobbs’ star youngster is, of course, the unbeaten Fingal Bay.

The Challow Hurdle winner is set to contest the Novices’ Hurdle, rather than the Albert Bartlett, at Cheltenham.

“I’m sure he would get three (miles, 4800m), but we don’t know for certain so it has to be the Neptune I think,” Hobbs told At The Races.

“As far is the ground is concerned, anything on the soft side of good will be fine, which I’m sure Cheltenham will guarantee anyway.

“He’s been great. I’m not sure we necessarily wanted to run him again after the Challow Hurdle anyway, but there wasn’t really a race to suit.

“We gave him a short break and he’ll go straight to Cheltenham.”


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