Harry Cobden Blog: Who wins the Champion Jockey title and New Year’s aspirations
As it’s the start of the year and people are still talking about New Year resolutions and aspirations, let’s dive straight into it.
I’m not a New Year’s resolutions type of person, us jockeys don’t really buy into the New Year, New Me thing. Maybe one would be to stay in one piece this year. No, but seriously, it’s not really for me.
Maybe no resolutions, but I’m a goal setter, and the big goal for me is to ride 100 winners this season. I’ve got to get a slight move on, but I’ll be pushing hard to meet that milestone.
2020 may only just be starting, but The Cheltenham Festival is coming ever closer, but you can’t expect too much with the Festival, it’s incredibly hard to win a race there. The very best horses and jockeys compete against each other at Cheltenham don’t they? If I was to set a goal it would be to have a winner early doors – that always takes a bit of pressure off.
The race I would most love to win would be the Cheltenham Gold Cup for obvious reasons. Clan Des Obeaux has come out of his Boxing Day exploits at Kempton really well, and Scott Marshall who rides him every day is very pleased with him. He looks like he’s an improved horse from last year, so fingers crossed he’ll have a chance in the Gold Cup
In terms of taking inspiration from other jockeys going into the big meeting, Ruby Walsh has always been the one. But I will always listen out to all the jockeys and take note of what people are saying at the races.
Champion Jockey title race
Richard Johnson and Brian Hughes are both unbelievable sportsmen – Dicky has been doing it for so many years and Brian has been rolling in more and more winners each year for a good while now.
I think it’s going to be close, but I can see the West Country and all the trainers that Richard rides for down South are going to really get behind him and help him try and win a fifth Championship. Then again, I think they will do the same for Brian up North!
In my opinion when it comes down to it, Dicky will have a little more fire power than Brian and if I was to have a bet on it, I’d say Dicky to win.
It would be great to win a Jockeys’ Championship in the future, I’m not really in the picture at the moment but if I was in the picture in the later part of the season, I’d definitely go for it.
I think to win it you need to have some good winners in the summer, others seem to already be on 50 winners before I even get going as I don’t really ride in the summer. If I could do that and try and get around 30-40 wins before September, then it may be more realistic.
My Saturday rides at Ascot
Culture De Sivola – Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle at 1:50
The last time I rode her was in March 2018 at Haydock, I remember she performed nicely that day and won against a decent field. Since then, a few other jockeys have ridden her, and she’s always been there or there abouts. She’s very tough, hardy and she’ll run a good race as always.
Pic D’Orhy – Grade 3 Matchbook Holloways’ Handicap Hurdle at 2:25
Unfortunately, he fell last time out at Auteuil when he was going nicely. He’s a new horse to us and we’re finding out more about him every day.
The handicapper rates him highly as he’s off 146 and Paul Nicholls obviously does because he brought him over from France a year ago. He feels like a nice horse and there will be more to come from him in the future.
Capeland – Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at 3:35
He’s in great form ahead of the big race, he’s in a very competitive top-class race but he’s consistent and he’ll be there if the others in the top of the market have an off day.
In his last run at Kempton, he was never quite at his best, we know he’s much better than that. He runs a lot better around Ascot, the lass that rides him every day is very pleased with him, so he’s got a good chance of running well.
Update on Cyrname ahead of Ascot’s next meeting
Cyrname’s in good form, I think the aim is to go for the Ascot Chase. Everyone is happy with him, so I think he’ll go straight there but then I’m not entirely sure where he will go after that, he’s entered for Cheltenham but he may head to Punchestown or somewhere like that.
Cheltenham isn’t the be all and end all for the owner, John De La Hay, he will go where he thinks is best for the horse.
I do think he could do three miles all day long, he wasn’t right at Kempton, not taking anything away from Clan Des Obeaux, but Cyrname wasn’t the horse we know he is.
He didn’t turn up but still ran a hell of a race considering he wasn’t right. If he were to go for three miles again, he’ll take a lot of beating.