Harry Cobden rides Cyrname in the King George!

Harry Cobden, King George

There’s just a few short days until the King George VI Chase and I just can’t wait! One of the best races in the Jumps season and this year it’s brimming full of talented chasers. I’m in an incredibly lucky position to be able to choose from two of the well-fancied horses Cyrname and last year’s hero Clan Des Obeaux. It’s certainly been a nice headache to have!

After long deliberation, I’ve decided to go for Cyrname. He’s got a good record around Kempton and is obviously in really top form at the moment. It has obviously been really tough getting off Clan, but that’s racing, and I had to make the decision I felt was right. Both horses have great chances, and the team is in a really strong position going into the big one, which is the main thing.


The horses have done all their hard work, it’s all about just keeping them fresh so they go to Kempton A1.

Paul Nicholls will never leave any stone unturned – he knows exactly what to do in these situations he’s been here so many times before and came out victorious.

I’d be gutted if I chose the wrong horse, but that’s the way racing goes sometimes. It was bad enough when I picked the wrong one round Wincanton in a £4,500 Novice Hurdle, I’ll be absolutely gutted if that happens in the £250,000 King George!

I’d still be delighted for connections if I got beat by the other horse, it’s one of those things that you just don’t want to happen but you’ve got to be gracious in defeat, accept it, and get ready for the next one.

I think my top rival is Lostintranslation, he simply looked brilliant in the Betfair Chase.

Master trainer Willie Mullins’ horse Footpad is no slouch – he was impressive last month in a listed race at Thurles. I think the track will suit him, a good gallop will also suit him and help him settle which he’ll get with me and Cyrname going from the front. He’s not without a shout.

Thistlecrack I thought was very good the other day on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles, so if he can reproduce what he did last year then obviously he’s not going to be far away either. It’s an open race, if I had any horse in the race I don’t know what I’d ride really.

It was probably one of the best days of my life winning the King George last year, and to do it twice in a row would simply be unbelievable. Obviously, I’d love to do it, it would keep the bank manager happy for one wouldn’t it! Jokes aside, when you win races like that, you just want to feel that winning sensation again and again. But obviously you don’t want to think about the winning too much, you want to think about how you are going to win the race.

The Welsh Grand National

Elegant Escape will have top weight this year in the big one at Chepstow. He’s an improved horse after his run in the Ladbrokes Trophy which was unbelievable, everyone will need to be wary of him. In a Welsh National they’ll fly down to the first then after that they’ll go a nice steady pace which will be right up his street.

Yala Enki ran a lovely race in the Ladbrokes Trophy the other day, he’ll definitely come on for the run, he’ll have a lot of weight, but I think he’ll run very well.

Trucker’s Lodge is well handicapped off his mark, he’ll have his cheekpieces on which will help sharpen him up. He’s a proper, proper stayer. If he gets a good run round he won’t be far away because he will not stop galloping.

Christmas Day

I’ll head over to the Nicholls yard early in the morning and ride out one lot. We’ll make sure that all the horses racing over the Christmas period have a good early freshen up. The main thing is for me to help out all the guys and girls that work there every day so they can go home to their families and enjoy the rest of Christmas

I really appreciate all the effort the team put in, they’re doing it for the love of the sport, the love of the horses. You really have to take your hat off to them over the festive period because they drop everything for the horses. They’re a huge credit to themselves and it’s hugely appreciated. Hopefully I can repay their efforts with a few winners.

Christmas for me will be quite quiet; I’ll definitely enjoy Christmas dinner and Christmas Day don’t get me wrong. But I won’t be going all out, I’ve got a big day on Boxing Day and I’ll be looking forward to that.

I’ll get asked about the King George over Christmas dinner, it’s not something I would get nervous about or anything like that. My Dad will ask me what I think but it’ll just be a casual conversation.

  • Favourite Christmas song? – Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea
  • Favourite Christmas movie? – Home Alone
  • Best Christmas present growing up? – Quad Bike
  • Brussel sprouts, yes or no? – Yes
  • Favourite part of Christmas day? – Christmas dinner


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