Harry Cobden aiming high as number one jockey for Paul Nicholls

Thu 11 Oct 2018

Success in sport is about making the most of opportunities – and Harry Cobden aims to do exactly that by continuing the whirlwind start to his career as new number one jockey to Paul Nicholls.

Since bursting on the scene in 2015, the 19-year-old has made giant strides in a short space of time to establish himself as one of the most sought-after members of the weighing room – a position Cobden hopes to strengthen with the help of the 10-times champion trainer.

“I’m looking forward to my new role with Mr Nicholls, because there are plenty of good horses in there – both familiar names and young, bright prospects,” he said.

“I’m not too worried about any pressure.

“I’m more interested in getting it right on the day, doing the best I can and getting all the horses running to the best of their ability.”

Not only will the teenager have the services of Ditcheat handler Nicholls to call on, but he can expect a steady stream of rides to come his way from the fellow West Country powerhouse of Colin Tizzard – with whom he has also built a solid association.

Cobden added: “I am first choice for Mr Nicholls, and I hope I will be riding a lot for Mr Tizzard as well – along with Robbie Power and Tom Scudamore.

“It’s pretty special riding for two of the biggest yards. I’ve just thought about it as a job – but when you sit down and think about it’s a massive privilege to ride for two big powerful men in the industry.

“It really has taken off, and I rode my claim out in just over a year. I never expected to be riding for two big stables at such an early stage of my career.”

Having resumed riding in recent weeks after missing the bulk of the summer with a neck injury, Cobden is looking forward to the wraps coming off plenty of horses – none more so than Politologue, whom he steered to Grade One glory in last year’s Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

Politologue and Harry Cobden clear the last on their way to winning the Tingle Creek Chase
Politologue and Harry Cobden clear the last on their way to winning the Tingle Creek Chase

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting back on Politologue, because he was obviously Paul’s flag-bearer last year.

“What he did was pretty special, to win two Grade Ones and three Grade Twos – you have to admire a horse like that.

“He is not very old and has got more good days ahead of him. I’m certain he will stay three miles, and that is probably what he wants. He is an exciting horse.”

While Cobden expects to scale the heights again with Politologue this season, there are number of other horses from Nicholls’ yard he hopes are in for a profitable campaign.

Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden in action at Haydock
Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden in action at Haydock

He said: “Clan Des Obeaux is a nice horse, and I think he might go to the Charlie Hall (Chase) first.

“He was only beaten nine lengths by Might Bite at Aintree, and it was a bit of a rush to get him there. There is no age at all to him, and he could be a Grade One horse.

“Topofthegame looks a nice novice chaser for the year, and Master Tommytucker looks a very good horse.

“Danny Kirwan ran in two bumpers, and he will run over hurdles now. He was still very light last year, but he has got a good engine under his bonnet.”

After celebrating his first Cheltenham Festival winner aboard Kilbricken Storm in the Albert Bartlett in March, Cobden is excited about renewing his partnership with the seven-year-old – as well as getting to grips with another exciting prospect from the Tizzard yard.

He said: “From Colin’s yard, I’m looking forward to getting back on board Kilbricken Storm.

“He has run in point-to-points and he jumps really well, and is another that has got a good engine and should win plenty of novice chases en route to the Cheltenham Festival if he goes that route.

“Another I like is White Moon. He had a little accident last year, and that ruled him out of the festivals, but he is another nice novice chaser. He is very unexposed, and everything he has shown has been good.

“He has got big days ahead of him. I’ve schooled him over fences at Colin’s yard, and he pings round with ease for a novice chaser.”

I’m not too worried about any pressure Harry Cobden

Lacking ambition is something Cobden cannot be accused of – and while a tilt at the Stobart Jump Jockeys Championship is on the back-burner as yet, riding a century of winners in a season for the first time is something he has his eye on.

He said: “Being champion jockey is a long way away – but it would be nice to have a go at it one day, I suppose, and have it on the CV.

“I think, having had a few months out, it will be hard to get a century of winners.

“But I will have a good go. It would be amazing to think I could do it, but I think I’ve worked out I would have to ride at least 16 a month until the end of the season.

“It’s a fair ask, but I’ve probably got the horses to do it if everything went right.”

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