Harry Cobden: A Saturday To Savour

Blogs | 20th January 2022

Get the latest from top jockey Harry Cobden as he looks forward to getting stuck into some top class racing at both Ascot and Lingfield.

This weekend sees me head off to Ascot and Lingfield to compete in some really top class races.

January tends to be a slightly quieter month for me, but there’s a specific reason for that. It’s because many of the horses here at Ditcheat are given a small break to have their annual flu vaccinations.

The jabs don’t have any side effects, but the boss feels it’s a good opportunity to give them some time off and freshen up.

That said, all the horses running this week and weekend had their jabs before Christmas, so they’re all in great shape.

There is just so much to look forward to … 


The big race of the day – The Clarence House Chase – may have only 4 runners, but it’s arguably one of the hottest contests of the season so far.

Hitman was entered to run but having looked at the high quality lineup we felt we were better off re-routing him to the Game Spirit at Newbury next month. He’s in great form, but on the face of it he would have to improve markedly to get on terms with Shishkin and Energumene.

Looking at the race, if I had the choice I think I’d most like to ride Shishkin. For me, he’s probably the most talented horse in training at the moment; certainly in Britain, at least.

I just love the way he goes through his races. He’s relaxed, he jumps well, he’s got loads of speed and his jockey Nico De Boinville knows how to get the best out of him.

I can see the pair of them sitting just off the pace and then passing Engergumene and First Flow in the early part of the home straight.

Whatever happens, it’s great that they’re facing off and I know that I and the rest of the weighing room will be glued to the telly to see what happens!


12:35pm – Irish Hill

He’s a lovely type, with a big future. He managed to win on first outing for us at Taunton in slightly fortuitous circumstances.

Lucy Wadham’s horse Graystone, who lines up against us again here, was a couple of lengths ahead of us at the last hurdle but hit the deck on landing and left us in the lead.

I felt sure we were going to give Graystone a good battle on the run up to the line; whether we’d have reeled him in I don’t know, but I feel my lad has come on for the experience.

He was very green that day and he’s progressed nicely since then. I’m pretty hopeful he’ll step forward and go well here.

1:45pm – Sonigino

Sonigino is a talented type but probably more of a long term project at this stage. His most recent run at Doncaster was a bit of a disappointment, truth be told.

I actually really fancied him to run well that day, but for reasons we couldn’t really explain it just didn’t happen for him. Horses aren’t machines and sometimes they have an off day – that wasn’t a fair reflection of his talent, though.

I think he’ll give a good account of himself here. He gets in at the bottom of the weights, he schooled well this morning and looks great so hopefully he can pull it together on the big stage.

2.25 – Amour De Nuit

He won really nicely last time out in the “Auld Reekie” Chase up at Musselburgh with Bryony aboard. The handicapper didn’t take too kindly to that win and has since raised him 7lbs, which is quite a hike.

In the past he’s not been able to win off a mark this high, so we’ll be hoping, rather than expecting him to follow up and make it two wins running.

He’s a hardy little horse though and clearly in good form at home – it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran another big race.

4.05 – Complete Unknown

I quite fancied his chances last time out at Ascot, but we ended up getting beaten by a 22/1 horse of Ian Williams’ called Party Business. After the race we were left shrugging our shoulders slightly, but the form has worked out unexpectedly well.

Party Business has since run really well in Graded company, so I think we were beaten by a pretty smart animal.

Actually, all his form gets even more solid when you look back further too. The horse that beat him on his penultimate run Ree Okka also won at Kempton last weekend very impressively. So I think it’s fair to say he’s been slightly unlucky to bump into two very talented horses.

That said I think our horse is a nice straightforward type; I think he goes to Ascot with a massive chance. I’d have him as my best chance of a winner on the day.

Winter Million A Massive Welcome

It’s fantastic for Jump racing that Lingfield and ARC have created this new Festival, The Winter Millions.

In my lifetime I’ve never known Lingfield put on such great prize money for Jumps racing; so it’ll be a new experience for me and for many.

It gives horses who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to win a big pot the chance to strike it rich; which can only be a good thing for the game.

I know that our stable plan to support the meeting with plenty of runners and long may it continue.