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Zanza records landmark success, Funambule Sivola bounces back at Newbury

The 16-1 chance was ridden by Tom O’Brien, who since the retirement of Richard Johnson has been stable jockey for Phillip Hobbs.

Updated at 15.36

COURSE SPECIALIST Zanza provided Philip Hobbs with his 3,000th winner in the Betfair Denman Chase.

Hobbs went the whole of January without a winner as he edged closer to the landmark figure — and it was apt that a stable stalwart like Zanza would provide him with it.

The nine-year-old has only won seven races under rules, with the last five of them now all being at Newbury.

The 16-1 chance was ridden by Tom O’Brien, who since the retirement of Richard Johnson has been stable jockey for Hobbs and his delight was evident as he raised his arm aloft on crossing the line seven lengths ahead of 9-4 favourite Hitman.

For Hobbs, trainer of the likes of Rooster Booster, Monkerhostin, Flagship Uberalles, Menorah, Captain Chris and Defi De Seuil, it was undoubtedly special to have such a winner in a Grade Two event.

Elsewhere, Funambule Sivola returned to form to record back-to-back success in the Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, in which hot favourite Greaneteen finished only third of the four runners.

The Venetia Williams-trained eight-year-old was on the crest of a wave when winning this race 12 months ago and went on to finish a very creditable second to Energumene in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

However, in three previous runs this season he had looked a shadow of his former self and he was sent off 7-1 to return to winning ways.

Prominent throughout, Charlie Deutsch always looked happy whereas Greaneteen did not make life easy for Harry Cobden, racing keen early and making niggly errors.

With Elixir De Nutz running in snatches and Malystic’s jumping leaving him with plenty to do, Funambule Sivola ended up running out a three-and-a-half-length winner from Elixir De Nutz.

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