Any suggestion that 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth was finished at the highest level following three disappointing efforts last season was firmly quashed when the ten-year-old showed much of his old enthusiasm to beat his long-absent stablemate Simonsig over hurdles at Aintree on Saturday afternoon in a race dominated by the Nicky Henderson-trained pair.
In the hands of Nico de Boinville the son of Bob Back set out to make all in the 2m 4f Betfred Hurdle and with the exception of his grey stable companion, who was having his first race since winning the Racing Post Arkle Chase, had all of his rivals in trouble a long way out. That was the same Cheltenham Festival at which Bobs Worth proved victorious over Sir Des Champs and Long Run in the Betfred-sponsored Championship Steeplechase, since when little has gone right for the two Seven Barrows inmates.
Sent off an unconsidered 11-1 chance behind 6-5 favourite Purple Bay ( who was never seen with a winning chance ) and the Barry Geraghty-ridden Simonsig, Bobs Worth appeared a sitting-duck for the grey son of Fair Mix who cruised up to challenge the winner on the run in, but the 5-2 shot could never get his head in front after such a lengthy lay off. Whether the runner-up is up to producing the outstanding form he showed before injury struck is open to question, with the acid test likely to come on his next outing when reverting back to the bigger obstacles.
The next target for Bobs Worth is more straighforward with Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup firmly on the radar, a race the horse won three year’s ago off a mark of 160. A current chase rating of 151 makes things very tempting for connections. If successful, Bobs Worth would become only the fourth dual winner of the famous handicap, the most recent being Denman in 2007/2009.
As short as 10-1 with Skybet for the 3m 1f 124y chase on Saturday 28th November, Bobs Worth can still be backed ay 16-1 with 888Sport, a price that is unlikely to last very long.