Harry Cobden celebrated the 400th winner of his career as Amour De Nuit defied a 617-day absence to make a winning return to action at Plumpton.
The 21-year-old, who has been tipped by some to secure a first Jump Jockeys championship this season, reached the milestone with victory aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding in the Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap Hurdle.
Cobden, who currently sits second in the title standings behind reigning champion Brian Hughes, picked out two winners which stand out in his career haul so far.
He said: “I’m delighted – I didn’t realise it was my 400th winner, but that’s not bad for a little boy!
“I suppose Topofthegame winning the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival (in 2019) was one I loved – then there is my first Grade One at Newcastle in the (2016) Fighting Fifth on Irving, because I was still a claimer.
“There have been lots of moments – I’m in a good position to ride those good horses.”
Despite 8-1 shot Amour De Nuit eventually proving three-quarters of a length too strong for Buckhorn George, it was a success which took Cobden by surprise.
“He has had a long time off, but Paul has done loads of work with him,” he said.
“He hasn’t galloped him overly hard, but he has done lots of steady work.
“He has travelled well and jumped great – and you have got to take them when they are there. I was surprised, because I thought he would need it more than he did.”
Amour De Nuit’s victory followed a fine weekend for Cobden and Nicholls, for whom Cyrname secured the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby to set up a second attempt at Kempton’s King George VI Chase next month.
Cobden added: “I was delighted with Cyrname. He jumped well, travelled great – and we learnt that he can go left handed.
“He didn’t have hard race, which is exactly what we wanted. All roads will lead to the King George now, I suppose.”
Elsewhere on Plumpton’s card, the application of blinkers had the desired effect on Un Beau Roman – who gained his first victory in four years when making all to land the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap Chase by two and three-quarter lengths.
Trainer Paul Henderson said of his 18-1 winner: “He used to be a keen at home, and I had to put my strongest lad on.
“But Georgina Price, who rides him now, switched him off – and I think it made him go to sleep in his races.
“He had the blinkers on for the first time, and that did the trick. We usually hold him up, but I said to Nick (Scholfield) ‘fire him out in front’ – and he gave him a great ride.”
Tom Bellamy had to sit tight at the last on the Alan King-trained Midnight Glance (11-2), as he completed a double with a length-and-three-quarter victory in division two of the attheraces.com breederscup Handicap Hurdle.
Bellamy said: “It’s been too long since I had a double – I think it must be at least three years since the last one.
“I wanted a big one at the last to seal the deal – it was probably a tough question to ask him on that ground, but luckily he found a leg and picked up.”
Aughnacurra King (16-5) got the ball rolling for Bellamy when running out a 12-length winner of the Watch Plumpton Replays On attheraces.com Novices’ Handicap Chase for trainer David Jeffreys.