Tag Archive for: Harry Cobden

Greaneteen seals Celebration Chase double in style

Greaneteen bounced back to his brilliant best to successfully defend his crown in the bet365 Celebration Chase.

The eight-year-old proved too strong for the subsequently retired Altior when landing the Grade One prize 12 months ago and returned to Sandown to add the Tingle Creek to his big-race CV in December.

Despite failing to fire when last seen in action at Leopardstown, Greaneteen was the 11-8 favourite to make it back-to-back wins on the final day of the season and complete a treble on the day for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden.

After initially tracking his pacesetting stablemate Rouge Vif, Cobden sent Greaneteen to the lead racing down the back straight, with Harry Skelton quickly covering the move aboard his main market rival Nube Negra.

But it was clear soon after jumping the third fence from the finish that the leader had far more left in the locker and he powered clear from the home turn to score by 12 lengths.

Sceau Royal came through to beat a tiring Nube Negra to the runner-up spot.

Nicholls said: “We thought all of them had good chances today and it is an amazing day. You try to get these horses right for these special days. The ground is wonderful here, which is just what we want.

“The ground was too soft for Greaneteen in Ireland. He’s probably not a February-type horse. He is good in the spring and the autumn.

“He did get an injury to his eye out there. Some mud got into it and he has had three visits to the vet. He is going in on Monday to have surgery on his eye to remove an ulcer. It is minor, but we have had to deal with that since, but we knew he was ready for today.

“He goes an end-to-end gallop here. He keeps galloping and you have to jump around here, which he does well and he stays on strong. Harry was really impressed today – he just keeps on improving – and he never gets the credit he deserves. He is a very smart horse on his day.

“Everyone keeps making excuses for the others, but he just keeps winning and that’s what you want in a good horse – keep winning.

“This track suits him and the Tingle Creek will be the target next year and this race afterwards. It is good prize money and whether Cheltenham suits him, I don’t know. He was only beaten two lengths last year in the Champion Chase, but this track suits him. The Tingle Creek will be the main target in the autumn.”

Saint Calvados delivers impressive Oaksey success

Saint Calvados produced a dominant front-running display to claim top honours in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown.

A field of just four runners went to post for the Grade Two contest, with King George third Saint Calvados the even-money favourite to register his first victory since joining Paul Nicholls.

There was drama at the start, with last year’s runner-up Mister Fisher shying away when the tapes went up, which allowed Saint Calvados to establish an early buffer over his three rivals.

Having worked his way back into contention, Mister Fisher closed up to within a couple of lengths jumping the Pond Fence, but Harry Cobden had kept something up his sleeve aboard the market leader, who soon asserted once more.

The nine-year-old sealed his victory with a typically bold leap at the final obstacle and passed the post with 16 lengths in hand.

Cobden and Nicholls were completing a quick-fire double following the earlier success of Knappers Hill in the opener.

“That was a nice win. He deserved to win a race like that. Contrary to what it looks like – that he doesn’t stay – I actually do think he stays,” said Nicholls.

“We haven’t had him really right and we are learning about him all the time. I actually think we can get him fitter next year if we don’t have the problems we have had.

Saint Calvados in full flight
Saint Calvados in full flight (Nigel French/PA)

“I’m convinced he wants three (miles). He galloped all the way to the line there today. Harry got off him the last day at Aintree and said ‘next time I’m going to make the running’. He got too far behind and all his did was gallop, that’s why we bowled along in front today.

“He likes these small fields and better ground. He doesn’t want soft ground – that’s no good for him. When he ran at Ascot, that was a big waste of time. That was perfect today.

“He will definitely go back to the King George again as he ran so well in it this year, but hopefully, we can know him a bit more and get him a bit better and ride him differently.

“The Charlie Hall, something like that, if it was fast ground, would suit him very well.”

Of Mister Fisher, Henderson said: “It was very uncharacteristic – he would not jib at anything.

“We haven’t seen Saint Calvados making the running for a long time and the one day he’s making the running, we go and give him 15 lengths at the gate. It was very out of character.

“Peterborough Chases are his sort of level. He is a Grade Two horse. There are lots of races for him and the Peterborough and those sort of things are really up his street.

“He has had a busy end to the season and Nico (de Boinville) said he was a bit tired.”

Title-chasing Paul Nicholls records Ascot double

Paul Nicholls kept up his championship charge by saddling a double at Ascot on Sunday.

The Ditcheat handler is closing in on his 13th title, with over £2.1 million in the bank so far this term, although Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton and most notably Willie Mullins are all in contention with Aintree’s Grand National meeting on the horizon.

Nicholls was on the mark with both Chavez (13-8 favourite) in the Peter O’Sullevan 2022 Lambourn Open Day Maiden Hurdle and Danny Kirwan (5-2) in the Soil Science Handicap Chase, with Harry Cobden partnering both victors.

Of Danny Kirwan, the rider said: “He’s very ground dependent, anything other than good, it sort of affects his wind.

“He was a pleasure to ride today, he jumped from fence to fence. He travelled well, he was a bit long two out to be honest, I thought there was an extra one there but the horse knew better and he’s won nicely.”

Cobden feels Nicholls is in a good position to retain his title with a strong squad on course for Aintree.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “Fingers crossed we can win another championship. Normally we come out of Cheltenham 200 or 300 grand behind. Although we don’t have the horses we probably once had, I think we’re about 200 grand in front and we’ve got a great team going to Aintree.

“I’m not saying we’ve got lots of quality, but we’ve got lots of horses going there with a chance.”

Cobden then made it a treble on the day as he steered Elegant Escape (4-1) to victory in the Racing To School Veterans’ Handicap Chase.

Trained by Colin Tizzard, the 10-year-old secured his first win since landing the 2018 Welsh Grand National as he held off Wandrin Star by a length and a half.

Gary Moore was another in double form at the Berkshire track’s final jumps card of the campaign, with Fifty Ball (6-5 favourite) spearheading the trainer’s brace under Niall Houlihan in the Memberships At Ascot Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Moore then combined with son Jamie to land the Garth Hunt Pony Club Novices’ Handicap Chase with 11-4 shot Golden Boy Grey.

Krypton Gold (28-1) bagged the Colts & Fillies Club Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for Stuart Edmunds and Charlie Hammond, while Law Of Gold surprised Nicholls’ 8-15 favourite in winning a two-horse race for the closing British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal Open Hunters’ Chase.

Stage Star could be given Aintree opportunity

Stage Star is not ruled out of an Aintree appearance after pulling up in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The gelding had three outings this season prior to the race and was victorious every time, taking a maiden and a novice before landing the Grade One Challow Novices’ Hurdle in convincing style.

Heading to the Festival unbeaten over hurdles as a result, the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old started as a 7-1 chance for the Ballymore as only Henry de Bromhead’s Journey With Me and eventual winner Sir Gerhard were more fancied.

Unrelenting rain had turned the going to soft before the contest and in testing conditions Stage Star strained against the early slow pace, pulling hard before making a mistake over the third-last and weakening as a result.

Paul Nicholls' Stage Star
Paul Nicholls’ Stage Star (Adam Davy/PA)

Ultimately pulled up by Harry Cobden, the bay is none the worse for the experience after walking home under his jockey.

“He’s fine, he came back fine. There were no issues with him, it just wasn’t his day at Cheltenham,” said Dan Downie, racing manager to the Owners Group syndicate.

“He was very keen and in that ground it was pretty clear fairly early on that it wasn’t going to work.

“Harry looked after him and made sure he didn’t have a hard time of it, and that’s the main thing.

“You certainly couldn’t judge him on that, he was beaten before the race really got serious so I think it is best to just draw a line under it and move on.”

Connections are open-minded as to whether to give him another outing this term and Aintree is under consideration, with the team also yet to decide if Stage Star will remain a hurdler next season or turn his hand to steeplechasing.

“We’re open minded really, he’s got an option at Aintree which we will have a good look at it but he won’t run unless we’re really happy with him,” he said.

“Again, we’re open minded (as to whether he goes chasing).

“The plan was for him to go chasing at some point, but I suppose it will depend on if he runs again and how he does. We’ll take a view over the summer, I should think.”

Don delivers to spark double for Nicholls at Taunton

With Paul Nicholls’ assistant Harry Derham set to leave and set up on his own near Marlborough at the end of the season, pupil assistant Charlie Davies will step into the number two role at Ditcheat.

Davies, who previously worked for Jonjo O’Neill and Charlie Longsdon, was on hand at Taunton on Thursday to welcome in Don Alvaro (9-2), who got off the mark at the eighth attempt under rules in division two of the S Roberts & Son Handicap Hurdle, sparking a double for the yard.

Harry Cobden produced the six-year-old ahead of the last flight and held off Justshortofabubble and the staying-on 4-5 favourite Groom D’oudairies, scoring by a neck and three lengths respectively.

Davis said: “He ran quite well twice and he is finally back in handicaps, which are his level. He hasn’t run badly the first two times he’s been in handicaps and I think he’s just found a race that suited him today.

“Possibly two miles and seven furlongs at Exeter stretched him a little bit and two miles and three back here suited him more. ‘Cobby’ was brilliant on him.

“He will jump a fence in time, because he is a brilliant jumper.”

Of his promotion, Davies said: “I take over after the last day of the season. It is a big opportunity and a big job so I am looking forward to it.”

Individualiste (3-1) made all in the Hippychick Novices’ Hurdle to complete the stable’s double.

The ex-French four-year-old was a warm order on his debut for the yard at Musselburgh a couple of months ago, but disappointed.

Individualiste made all to give Harry Cobden and Paul Nicholls a double on the card (Simon Milham/PA)

He made no mistake here, with Cobden keeping it simple and making it four wins on his last four rides following Wednesday’s Wincanton double.

“He jumped very well and he was so straightforward,” said Cobden. “He is the sort of horse who hacks around and uses no energy and jumps economically, which makes them a lot better than they probably actually are.

“But he has done it well. We had the run of the race and he took them off the bend turning and went a few lengths clear and stayed galloping, winged the last – and I think he enjoyed having 10st 2lb on his back! He will be a nice horse next season.”

Davies added: “I think it was a combination of things last time. He is a young horse and maybe he didn’t handle the 10-hour journey. There were a few things we were unhappy with when he came back – his bloods were not quite right.

“He was very disappointing there, as he had shown us plenty at home. Today he has shown us what he can do. He has won really cosy. He will be a real fun horse for the owners.”

Jaytee jumped well under Will Kennedy (Simon Milham/PA)

Jaytee (6-1) had jumped tentatively when runner-up at Leicester a month ago, but Ian Williams’ seven-year-old was a different proposition here under Will Kennedy, leaping with aplomb to take the Chetwood Wealth Management Handicap Chase by four and a half lengths.

Kennedy said: “I had a fall two days before I was supposed to ride him at Leicester. That day, he jumped a bit sticky. Every time he has done something new, he has always been a bit cautious, so wasn’t completely surprised that day.

“Our plan today was to jump a couple and get into a rhythm and it couldn’t have gone any better. That might be as soft as he wants it.

“I am probably enjoying the winners more as I am not getting them as often. I keep telling the lads to enjoy every winner, because one day it stops.”

Trixter (4-1) earned his first success in three years to give the Tim Vaughan yard a welcome winner, taking the three-mile UK Gun Repairs Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Charlie Price.

Trixter gained a first win in three years under 3lb claimer Charlie Price (Simon Milham/PA)

Now 23lb below his last winning mark, he had been beaten over 17 lengths at Huntingdon last time after a break.

Price said: “He kept going at the end and it is nice he has won for the owners and the syndicate.

“We have had a tough period, we’ve had a tough couple of seasons, really, but this horse has shown he has still got his winning ways.”

Tom Scudamore timed his challenge to perfection aboard 8-11 favourite Molly Carew in the mares’ handicap chase.

Neil Mulholland’s 10-year-old took time to find her second wind in the extended two-mile-five-furlong event, but Scudamore galvanised her after the last and she wore down Jubilympics in the last 100 yards to win by a neck.

Mulholland said: “She just got going at the end, she looked like she got caught for toe when she entered the home straight. The ground was tacky enough for her but she was genuine. For an older mare, she has run a great race.

He is improving and his jumping is improving. The penny is starting to drop

“I would say she will go breeding at the end of the year. She won the final last year and her last three runs here have been two wins and a third.

“She is entered at Fontwell next week and we can always have a look.”

Philip Hobbs has his string in good heart and Iberio followed up his win here last month off a 3lb higher mark with ease in division one of the handicap hurdle.

Jumping the last upsides Imperial Joe, Tom O’Brien’s mount met it on a stride and powered down the hill to draw three and three-quarter lengths clear.

Of the 5-2 joint-favourite, Hobbs said: “That was good. He stays well. He is improving and his jumping is improving. The penny is starting to drop with him and the cheekpieces in his last two runs appear to have helped him.”

Rainyday Woman set for bigger things following Wincanton success

Rainyday Woman is likely to step up in class at Warwick next month following her impressive victory at Wincanton.

The six-year-old mare coasted home by seven and a half lengths in the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing Novices’ Hurdle, leaving trainer Paul Nicholls to set his sights on the Grade Two Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle.

The 1-2 favourite led from the start and powered home from Norton Hill to be the first leg of a double for jockey Harry Cobden.

“She is a big, strong filly that is improving all the time. I was a bit worried about running her quick as it was only 12 days after her last win her, but I thought it was a winnable race,” said Nicholls.

“If she had jumped better at Ludlow she would have probably won that day. That first run was the making of her. She jumped well the first day and now she is fantastic.

“I think a flat track suits her. There is a Listed race later this month at Taunton which we won with Posh Trish. That is an option.

“We could look at running her against the geldings in the Warwick race who she would get 7lb off. She is a good mare.”

Nicholls revealed he is to bring his three Ladbrokes King George VI Chase contenders through their paces at the Somerset track.

The Ditcheat trainer will give last year’s King George hero Frodon, 2018 and 2019 winner Clan Des Obeaux and new recruit Saint Calvados a gallop at the course as part of their preparations for the Kempton showpiece on Boxing Day.

Trainer Paul Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls (David Davies/PA)

Nicholls said: “They are all fine and we are having a gallop here in the morning. They are fit and well and schooled yesterday morning. I’m very happy with them all and just want them to have a nice day out.

“Clan is obviously very fresh and well and he was mad fresh yesterday morning. It is a different preparation to what we have given him leading into the race before.

“Normally he has had a run before going to the King George, but I think doing this will suit him better.

“Frodon has had his month off and is now back working away. He looks in good order. He has been bucking and squealing and making himself known in the yard.

“Saint Calvados hasn’t had a run for us yet. He has always gone well (fresh) in the past so we thought we would go straight there on the back of doing a load of work at home. They are three interesting horses for the race.

“Saint Calvados ran very well in the race last year. He just didn’t jump well in the straight so we have done lots of jumping.”

Nicholls believes that Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux represent his best chances of giving him a record-extending 13th King George success.

“In my eyes, the main two have to be Frodon and Clan on what they have done on the form. They are in good shape,” he added.

Cobden completed his brace on the Jack Barber-trained Electric Annie (13-2) in the Follow @mansionbet On Twitter Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Earth Company takes the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton
Earth Company takes the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton (Adam Davy/PA)

Philip Hobbs looks to have a promising type in Earth Company (5-2) took the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle by a length from 11-8 favourite Brief Times in the hands of Tom O’Brien.

“He is a little bit keen early on, but that is through greenness. It would definitely be an advantage (running in a bigger field with more pace on) I would have thought,” said the Minehead handler.

“He has got loads of speed so I would have no thoughts of going further as he travels very well.

“Ninety per cent of it is what we see here and not at home and what we have seen so far is very good.”

Nicholls thrilled with ‘proper one’ Bravemansgame

Paul Nicholls already has a tilt at next year’s King George in mind for Bravemansgame after another faultless display in the Double Daily Rewards With Betfair Graduation Chase at Haydock.

Winner of the Challow Hurdle last winter before placing at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring, the six-year-old looks like scaling even greater heights over fences judged on his first efforts.

Having readily accounted for the high-class Fusil Raffles on his chasing debut at Newton Abbot last month, the six-year-old faced a similarly stern test on Merseyside.

Itchy Feet, runner-up in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on his latest appearance, appeared the biggest threat on paper and that is just what transpired.

But Bravemansgame jumped immaculately in front in the hands of Harry Cobden and passed the post with just under three lengths in hand over his 155-rated rival without being fully extended.

Nicholls said: “He’s progressing nicely and that was great against older horses. He did that well, he’s progressing nicely and has hardly had a race, to be honest – he’s obviously very good.

“Hurdles got in his way a little bit, as they do for all those good chasers. He’s got so much scope for chasing and Harry’s smile said it all really – he’s a proper one.

“He’s got everything you want really – jumping ability and gears and stays well.”

Next on the agenda for the winner is the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day – and Nicholls hopes he might return to the Sunbury venue 12 months later for the big one.

“The Kauto Star is the obvious race to go for. Three miles round Kempton will be brilliant for him, so he’ll go there,” Nicholls added.

“If he’s good enough to go to Cheltenham with a winning chance we’ll go, but it’s a long way off and we’ll make that decision nearer the time.

“Someone asked me there ‘what’s the target’ and I said the 2022 King George. God willing, if everything is all right, that’s the sort of race he’ll be running in.

“I think last year when I compared him with Denman I wasn’t too far off the mark when you look at one they’d done at this stage of their career. God willing he might progress to do what he did – it’s nice to think he might.”

Cobden eagerly awaiting Shloer showdown with Politologue

Harry Cobden is “delighted” with Politologue ahead of his belated clash with Put The Kettle On and Nube Negra in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained grey should have taken on the pair in defence of his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown in March, but was dramatically withdrawn just before the race having been found to have burst a blood vessel.

Put The Kettle On went on to land the two-mile showpiece from Nube Negra, and the stage is set for an intriguing rematch. Cobden fears the latter more as he felt he was unlucky in running.

“Put The Kettle on needs no introduction as she is last season’s Champion Chase winner, but I think Nube Negra is probably the main danger going into the race,” he said.

“He was a bit unlucky at the Festival last season – he didn’t have the gaps turning in and he will really appreciate the decent ground.

“Politologue has been a champion really and has turned up everywhere for the last five or six years.”

Cobden reports the 10-year-old to be ready to return to the fray on his first start since disappointing at Aintree in April.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be back on board him. I schooled him on Tuesday and he is in fantastic form and he jumped really well,” he said.

“It seems to me that he still has the fire in his belly. I’m very excited and looking forward to the weekend.

“He has been a fantastic horse for the yard and he is just shy of winning a million pounds in prize money, having won over £990,000.

“He has had a great preparation and hopefully we haven’t left any stones unturned and he is ready to roll.”

Cobden admits he owes a lot to Politologue for helping establish his career during his early years in the saddle.

“I suppose he was my second big Saturday Grade One winner after Irving when he won the Tingle Creek as I was still a teenager at the time. He really helped put me on the map and has played a big part in my career,” he added.

“The two miles around Cheltenham is one we all look forward to and especially on a horse like him who, touch wood, is such a safe jumper. He is a horse that is close to my heart given what he has done in the past as well.”

Outlaw Peter scores poignant success on British debut

Outlaw Peter demonstrated his potential with a poignant and promising victory on his first British start in the Richard Hitchings Memorial Open Maiden National Hunt Flat Race at Worcester.

The five-year-old, owned by the Stewart family and Dame Judi Dench, was second on debut at Navan for Shark Hanlon in January – when he was beaten only by subsequent Champion Bumper fourth Three Stripe Life.

Outlaw Peter has since joined Paul Nicholls, and started an even-money favourite under Harry Cobden.

He hit the front three furlongs from home and won by two and a half lengths from Montgomery.

Nicholls trained a string of stars over many years – including the brilliant Big Buck’s – for his good friend and leading owner Andy Stewart, who died last month at the age of 70.

After Outlaw Peter’s victory, the multiple champion trainer posted on Twitter: “A lovely performance from Outlaw Peter to win on yard debut at Worcester under a lovely ride from Harry. Absolutely delighted to train a winner for the Stewart family & Judi Dench. That one was for you Andy.”

Outlaw Peter may be winning plenty more races too, having impressed Cobden.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s a lovely horse.

“At home he’s very much on the bridle – he travels well and you’re normally trying to slow him down. But I suppose I had to make the running and he was very green.

“He’s a proper jumping horse – he didn’t need all that speed but he’s just a proper galloper, and the best thing about him was that I couldn’t pull him up until down the back straight.”

Elsewhere on the card, Wigglesworth (7-1) laid down a late challenge to take the Lewis Rally Sport Another Kind Of Horsepower Handicap Chase for Sam Twiston-Davies and Richard Newland.

Wigglesworth and Sam Twiston-Davies
Wigglesworth and Sam Twiston-Davies (David Davies/PA)

The six-year-old looked an unlikely winner and was ahead of just one horse over the penultimate fence – but under a tenacious ride from Twiston-Davies, he rallied strongly to beat 7-4 favourite Starsky by a nose.

“When you’re in those scenarios you’re always hoping you’ll get there,” said Twiston-Davies, for whom this was an overdue winner.

“The horse has got to keep going at the end of the day – and that’s what he’s done.

“I was nearly on the cold list! I have great faith in Dr Newland.

“You can rely on them jumping – and with everything Dr Newland does, and his team, they are very fit.

“You go out there believing in the horses, and touch wood they usually come good more than they don’t.”

Newland completed a double on the card when Jesuitique took the Ann Hitchings Memorial Handicap Hurdle, at 7-1 under Cillin Leonard.

Jesuitique and Cillin Leonard
Jesuitique and Cillin Leonard (David Davies/PA)

The six-year-old stable debutant, who launched a telling late challenge, gave connections brief anxious moments when he collapsed in the winner’s enclosure – but thankfully was soon back on his feet.

Leonard said: “We haven’t had him out at the front of the string, so he would have been very lairy if I had hit the front too soon.

“But he’ll do the job and he got the job done. I’m delighted with that.”

Little River Bay got her season off to a winning start in the David Dennis Racing EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase, for Ben Jones and Philip Hobbs.

Little River Bay (left) and Ben Jones
Little River Bay (left) and Ben Jones (David Davies/PA)

The six-year-old won three novice hurdles last season and duly augmented her record on chasing debut, by a length at 16-5.

Colorado Doc took the Uko Serviced Offices At County House Novices’ Hurdle at odds of 15-8 for Connor and David Brace, and the closing Myson Radiators EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle went the way of 8-11 favourite I Like To Move It – to give Twiston-Davies a double, riding this time for his father Nigel.

Harry Cobden reaches 500-winner landmark at Uttoxeter

Harry Cobden reached the career landmark of 500 British jumps winners on Vision Des Flos at Uttoxeter.

Cobden, stable jockey for multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls, has passed the milestone at the age of 22 – having begun his career in 2015 when he rode two winners and a runner-up in his first three races.

Since then, he has made a remarkable rise through the ranks at a young age – registering his first Grade One success on Irving for Nicholls in the 2016 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

Cobden was crowned champion conditional jockey at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, while the following year he landed his first Cheltenham Festival success aboard the Colin Tizzard-trained Kilbricken Storm in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

Further career highlights to date include winning the 2018 King George VI Chase at Kempton aboard Nicholls’ Clan Des Obeaux – who also provided him with his most recent top-level victory in the Betway Bowl at Aintree in April.

He kept things simple on Tizzard’s Vision Des Flos, leading from an early stage in a field of just three for the Bresbet Foundation Handicap Chase and then seeing off the determined challenge of Zoffee in the straight to win by two and a quarter lengths as the 5-4 favourite.

Reflecting on his achievement, Cobden told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m obviously very pleased … it’s great to do it.

“I’m only 22, so it’s happened quite quickly.”

At the suggestion he could therefore maybe even one day overhaul the great winning statistics of multiple champions Richard Johnson and Sir Anthony McCoy, he said: “I’m not sure I’ll be carrying on as long as Dicky – but I’ll have a good go anyway.

“I’m fortunate that I’ve got plenty of good people with good horses to ride – and hopefully, long may it continue.”

As for Vision Des Flos’ return to winning form, he added: “I think the last time I rode him (two and a half years ago) he finished second to Buveur D’Air at Sandown, beaten two lengths in a decent hurdle race.

“He’s obviously dropped back in class, but it’s nice to get a win with him again.”
Nicholls’ assistant Harry Derham was among those to voice their congratulations.

Derham wrote on Twitter: “A brilliant achievement for a man as young as Harry to have ridden his 500th winner of his career at Uttoxeter today, I have no doubt there will be many many more to come.”

Harry Cobden to miss rest of season

Harry Cobden will has been ruled out of the final days of the jumps season after suffering facial injuries in a fall at Aintree on Saturday.

The rider was taken to hospital after parting company with Lucky One in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, but Cobden had initially hoped to make a speedy return.

However, he has been forced to end his campaign early with further checks revealing fractures in his cheekbone that will require surgery later this week.

Cobden currently sits in third in the jump jockeys’ championship, 13 winners behind Harry Skelton and 14 adrift of defending champion Brian Hughes, with the duo locked in an enthralling battle that ends on April 24 at Sandown.

Cobden’s outside challenge has now been ended, but he is focusing on next term already.

He tweeted: “I went for further scans yesterday and, unfortunately, they have shown that I have got a couple of fractures in my right cheekbone. I am having an operation on Thursday, but I am out for the rest of the season (likely to be six weeks).

“Good luck to both Brian and Harry in the champion jump jockey title race. I look forward to hopefully challenging you both again next season and I hope that next season also welcomes people back on to racecourses.”

Bryony Frost and Harry Cobden recovering after Aintree falls

Jockeys Bryony Frost and Harry Cobden are both on the mend after enduring heavy falls on Grand National day at Aintree.

Cobden was treated at Aintree University Hospital after both he and Lucky One hit the floor in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, and although the horse was unharmed, Cobden suffered facial injuries was stood down for the remainder of the card.

His Grand National ride, the Paul Nicholls-trained Give Me A Copper, went to Sean Bowen and was pulled up with two fences left to jump in the big race.

Frost then suffered a similarly crunching fall when parting company with Yala Enki over the 20th fence in the National and was also taken to hospital and kept under observation until late on Saturday evening.

Harry Derham, assistant trainer to Nicholls, confirmed that both riders have since been discharged from hospital, saying: “I was with them both last night and they were both very sore and stiff, but fine.

“When I got back late last night they were fine. They’re both out of hospital, I drove them home.”

Harry Cobden
Harry Cobden (John Walton/PA)

Nicholls took to Twitter to provide updates on the riders, who are both attached to his Ditcheat yard.

“Just seen Bryony she’s a little stiff and sore but will hopefully be able to ride from the middle of next week and be fit to ride Frodon (at Sandown, April 24),” he said, before adding: “Another positive update have just spoken to Harry Cobden and he is up and about and feeling ok and just a little sore, he will give an update in the next few days as to when he can ride again. Great news.”

Cobden reiterated Nicholls’ update via his own Twitter account a while later, thanking staff at both the racecourse and the hospital for their care.

“Thank you for all your kind messages regarding my fall yesterday,” he said.

“I’m feeling battered and bruised but luckily there are no breaks.

“I’m back at home now and on the road to recovery. A big thanks to all the medical staff at Aintree races and at Aintree hospital.”

Frost posted an image of herself with a black eye on Instragram, followed by a caption that read: “Thank you for all the kind messages I’ve received. I’m looking like I’ve got some dodgy purple eyeshadow on but I’m feeling better than what I look!

“My aim is to be back racing the middle of next week. I must pass a concussion test to be passed fit to ride. Knowing myself I have a positive feeling Sandown will be a realistic target to be 110% ready and fit.

“To be apart of Paul Nicholls’ team is one of the best not just because we get to ride some of the best horses in the country but when we have hard days everyone rallies to care. Thanks team.”

Clan Des Obeaux oozes class in Betway Bowl

Clan Des Obeaux made it third time lucky in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree with a superb performance.

It was also a red-letter day for Sir Alex Ferguson and his fellow owners, after the same colours were earlier carried to victory in the two previous Grade Ones by Protektorat and Monmiral.

The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old was third in this race in 2018 and second in 2019. He finally got his just reward in some style to give Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden a double after Monmiral.

Mister Fisher made the running to the 12th fence, where he unseated Nico de Boinville after making a bad mistake.

Clan Des Obeaux soon led after that and stretched the opposition. Clondaw Castle was the only horse able to lay down a challenge, but he could not live with the 5-2 favourite, who drew well clear to win by 26 lengths. Clondaw Castle was 18 lengths ahead of Native River.

Dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll was fourth, a further 48 lengths away as the field finished well strung out.

Nicholls said: “When he’s been here before he’s had two hard races in the Gold Cup so the best thing we did was not take him there (Cheltenham), it makes such a big difference as it’s hard to do both.

“Perhaps he was disappointing at Newbury, but he did give 6lb to a good horse. It woke us up though as we realised we were probably getting the tactics wrong. We know to be positive on him now.

“Obviously next season the King George will be his number one aim, then back here and I’d like to go for the Denman again. If the ground is decent the Betfair at Haydock is a nice race for him – as is the Charlie Hall.”

He added: “He’s actually in the Bet365 Chase at Sandown and he doesn’t get a penalty, so that could be interesting. I’ve always thought that race would suit him. We didn’t put him in at Punchestown, but I did say if we could win this we could always supplement.”

Owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Tiger Roll was withdrawn from the National and the chance to join Red Rum as a three-time winner, as connections were unhappy with his handicap mark.

And while racing manager Eddie O’Leary is hoping the handicapper reacts by dropping Tiger Roll a few pounds, he is not holding out much hope.

“He ran exactly like I thought. He jumped out, we tried to be positive, which is when he runs best, but they just went too fast for him,” said O’Leary.

“That’s what happens in a Grade One when you haven’t got a Grade One horse.

“Once he finished sound and he gets home happy, that’s all we want. I just hope the handicapper takes note.

“The handicapper wanted us to run him in a race like that and he’s been beaten over 90 lengths. He wanted to see him on the track.

There was no triumphant return to Aintree for Tiger Roll
There was no triumphant return to Aintree for Tiger Roll (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“The handicapper took him out of the Grand National, not us. Easysland came out of the National for the same reason, the problem is the ridiculous ratings the cross-country horses have. They’ve lost the star of the show and Easysland.

“Cross-country ratings should be different, just like turf and all-weather – you have to treat cross country differently, as today showed.

“That was as close as he could finish, there was no way he wasn’t off.”

The stewards did hold an inquiry into the running and riding of Tiger Roll, interviewing Kennedy and trainer Denise Foster.

In the stewards’ report Kennedy said his instructions were to make the running but that he felt the gelding was never really travelling due to the fast early pace, a fact which he reported at scales, and that following a mistake at the third fence, where his mount may have lost confidence, he was never able to hold his position.

Foster spoke to officials by telephone and confirmed both the instructions given and also that Tiger Roll may have been unsuited by the fast pace. She further added the race may have come too soon after the recent run at Cheltenham.

Their explanations were noted.

Monmiral masters Aintree rivals to stay unbeaten

Monmiral maintained his unbeaten record over jumps with a convincing victory in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.

The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding oozed class in the hands of Harry Cobden and proved connections right for bypassing the Cheltenham Festival.

Monmiral was always travelling sweetly in third place behind Fiveandtwenty and Paros in the early stages, until he took closer order from three out.

Main market rival Adagio made his move, but a mistake at the final flight cost the Triumph Hurdle runner-up any chance he had and Monmiral scooted away to score by seven an a half lengths.

The victory gave the ownership that includes Sir Alex Ferguson, John Hales and Ged Mason a quick Grade One double following Protektorat’s win in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase.

Monmiral was cut to 25-1 from 40-1 for the Champion Hurdle and to 20-1 from 40-1 for the Arkle Trophy with Paddy Power and Betfair. Coral also went 20-1 for the Arkle.

Nicholls said: “The owners weren’t keen on Cheltenham. Although usually the Triumph is a cavalry charge and this year there weren’t many runners. This is a lovely race to win and there’s lots to look forward to.

“It has to be the best juvenile performance by a horse this side of the (Irish) sea.

“It will be hard to go novice chasing next season as a five-year-old, you don’t get as much of an allowance as you used to.

“It might be nice to think about the Fighting Fifth, it’s something to think about over the summer. A bit of time wouldn’t hurt this lad. There’s no panic to make a decision. If he won at Newcastle then we know what route to go down.”

Title-chasing Harry Cobden hits Wincanton treble

Harry Cobden kept himself in the race for the jockeys’ championship by riding a treble at Wincanton on Monday.

The 22-year-old began the day 13 winners behind reigning champion Brian Hughes’ tally of 126 for the season, with Harry Skelton splitting the pair on 120.

Skelton made significant inroads with a four-timer at Stratford, where Hughes also got on the scoreboard, while Cobden landed three of the first four races in Somerset – moving him to the 116-winner mark with three and a half weeks of the campaign left to go.

He said: “I had four nice rides today and had three winners and a third, so I’m very happy with that.”

Confirmation Bias passes the stands in front at Wincanton
Confirmation Bias passes the stands in front at Wincanton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Cobden teamed up with boss Paul Nicholls for his first two winners, with Confirmation Bias and Danny Kirwan both impressing.

Confirmation Bias was the 7-4 favourite for the opening Racing TV Extra ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle and displayed a willing attitude to see off Gold Link by a length and three-quarters.

“It was nice to see him put his head down and gallop right to the line today,” Cobden continued.

“It was a good, solid performance and I think he appreciated the better ground.”

The Cobden-Nicholls combination hit the mark again an hour later, with 5-4 shot Danny Kirwan making virtually every yard of the running and pulling 14 lengths clear of market rival Beyond The Pale in the Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle.

Cobden said: “He’s a classy horse and is probably just a bit better than the horses he was up against today on this sort of ground.

“He’s a nice, big, imposing type who should be an exciting chaser next year.”

The rider completed his hat-trick aboard the Colin Tizzard-trained Kauto The King (3-1) in the Dot Tolson Memorial Handicap Chase.

Runners in action at Wincanton
Runners in action at Wincanton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

On his chances of landing the jockeys’ championship, Cobden added: “You never know in racing, anything can happen.”

There was a shock result in the concluding Visit racingtv.com Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, with Catchin Time scoring at huge odds of 125-1.

Ridden by 7lb claimer Peter Summers, the Laura Hurley-trained 13-year-old cruised to victory – his first since February 2017.

Summers said: “I’ve been riding for six years now and that’s my first winner. It’s only my second ride under Rules.

“It is a really special day for me. He is a lovely little horse.”