Bruce Hobbs

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Bruce Robertson Hobbs (December 27, 1920 – November 22, 2005) was an English jockey and racehorse trainer.

Jockey someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing

A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing.

Horse trainer person training horses for racing, riding, show or work

A horse trainer is a person who tends to horses and teaches them different disciplines. Some of the responsibilities trainers have are caring for the animals’ physical needs, as well as teaching them submissive behaviors and/or coaching them for events, which may include contests and other riding purposes. The level of education and the yearly salary they can earn for this profession may differ depending on where the person is employed.


Born on Long Island, New York, Hobbs became the youngest jockey ever to ride the winner of the English Grand National when successful on Battleship, a son of Man o' War, in 1938 just three months after his 17th birthday. Two weeks later, Hobbs won the Welsh Grand National on Timber Wolf. At the end of the 1937-38 season, during which he rode 35 winners, Hobbs made history by becoming the first jockey to win three Grand Nationals in one year, being successful in Long Island's Cedarhurst version.

Grand National English horse race held at Aintree every year

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. It is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million in 2017. An event that is prominent in British culture, the race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.

Battleship (horse) horse

Battleship (1927–1958) was an American thoroughbred racehorse who is the only horse to have won both the American Grand National and the Grand National steeplechase races.

Cedarhurst, New York Village in New York, United States

Cedarhurst is a village in Nassau County, on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, in the USA. The population was 6,730 according to the 2017 United States Census estimates with a population increase of +2.2% since 2010 The village is named after a grove of trees that once stood at the post office.

Riding career

Hobbs had started as an amateur, riding 10 winners before his 16th birthday. It was said that of all the young riders in the history of racing, "none has created a greater stir than has young Hobbs." [1] He had just turned professional when he had his first ride in the National in 1937. He had been due to ride Battleship, until that horse was withdrawn. In the event, he was booked to ride a horse called Flying Minutes and was amongst the leaders until falling at the last open ditch.

An amateur, from French amateur "lover of", is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, self-taught, user-generated, DIY, and hobbyist.

Professional person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee

A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, such as the IEEE. Some definitions of "professional" limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.

In 1938, he finally got to ride and win aboard Battleship, a horse that was completing a unique American and Aintree National double. A crashing fall later that year resulted in injuries including a broken spine. Although told he would never ride again, he returned to the saddle, but turned to training horses at age 25.

Aintree Racecourse horse racing venue in England

Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, England. The racecourse is best known for annually holding the world-famous Grand National steeplechase.

Military service

Between 1940 and 1945 Hobbs served in the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons. He reached the rank of Captain and was awarded the Military Cross.

Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons

The Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons was a yeomanry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1794 to 1956.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Training career

Shortly after the war, Hobbs became a private trainer for John Rogerson at Letcombe Regis in Berkshire. In 1953 he moved to Newmarket, Suffolk and became assistant trainer to Cecil Boyd-Rochfort. In 1961 and 1962 he was assistant to John Clayton. In 1964 he moved to the Carlburg stable near Newmarket and became private trainer to David Robinson. Hobbs became a public trainer in 1966, basing himself at the Palace House stable where he remained for the rest of his career.

Letcombe Regis village and civil parish in Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, England

Letcombe Regis is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred the Vale of White Horse to Oxfordshire. The village is on Letcombe Brook at the foot of the Berkshire Downs escarpment about 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of the market town of Wantage. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 578.

Berkshire County of England

Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

Newmarket, Suffolk market town in Suffolk, England

Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles north of London. It is generally considered the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse racing and a potential World Heritage Site. It is a major local business cluster, with annual investment rivalling that of the Cambridge Science Park, the other major cluster in the region. It is the largest racehorse training centre in Britain, the largest racehorse breeding centre in the country, home to most major British horseracing institutions, and a key global centre for horse health. Two Classic races, and an additional three British Champions Series races are held at Newmarket every year. The town has had close royal connections since the time of James I, who built a palace there, and was also a base for Charles I, Charles II, and most monarchs since. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, visits the town often to see her horses in training.


Hobbs retired from racing in 1985. He died at Newmarket, Suffolk, in 2005, aged 84. [2]

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  1. "Battleship's Double". The Evening Post. Wellington, New Zealand. 29 March 1938. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  2. "Bruce Hobbs' obituary". Daily Telegraph. London. 23 November 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2013.