Harry Cobden Blog: Cyrname vs Altior all set to be an epic

Blogs | 21st November 2019

The build-up to the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase has been brilliant. The much-talked about clash between the two highest-rated chasers in the business has materialised and I really can’t wait for Saturday!

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a few big races in my short career but this one is right up there. For the horse it’s another day at the office and Cyrname seems in great form at home; he’s definitely ready to get on with the job.

I schooled him two weeks ago and his regular work rider couldn’t be happier with him. It’s our first run of the season and I’m obviously really excited for it.

Cyrname (left)

In terms of tactics, I’d say we’d be silly to change anything. His style is very much to make the running, he tries to gallop his rivals into the ground. If someone wants to go faster than us we’ll let them but looking at the race I don’t think anything will take us on for the lead. I suppose Altior will just sit behind us and have a go at us in the straight.

Cyrname is clearly very much at home around Ascot; he’s won his last two races over the same distance as Saturday’s feature so that’s obviously a huge positive. He’s a great jumper and he showed that ability last time out in the Ascot Chase.

You can’t take anything away from his main rival Altior though, he’s been a superstar for a long time. Over two miles, he’s definitely the best I’ve ever seen.

On his most last start at Ascot Altior did seem to jump slightly out to the left which some people may look at as a weakness. But in fairness to the horse he was doing all the donkey work himself from the front that day, I’d say he’ll jump fairly straight come Saturday when he’s got Cyrname to follow.

He’s also stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time, so there’s something of a stamina question around him. If he does improve as they hope he will he’ll be really difficult to beat. Both horses will be going there in top form and I’m just looking forward to it.

If Cyrname does go on and win on Saturday then I imagine he’ll go straight to the King George alongside stablemate and reigning champ, Clan Des Obeaux. Should that happen I’d have a tough decision on which horse to ride; but plenty of water needs to pass under the bridge before we get to Boxing Day!

To be involved in a big battle between two top horses is very exciting. When I was growing up I remember watching the epic tussles between Kauto Star and Denman, dreaming one day that I might get to be involved in something like that.

I was a big Ruby and Kauto fan as a kid; with Kauto Star’s second Cheltenham Gold Cup victory probably up there with my favourite races of all time. I’m very lucky to be associated with a boss like Paul Nicholls, who keeps on showing year in year out what a masterful trainer he is.

I just hope Cyrname and Altior lives up to the hype and produces one of the biggest races of the season. I’m just extremely grateful to be the lucky guy that gets to ride a great horse on the biggest stage.

My rides in the other races at Ascot on Saturday

I start off on Saturday with Highest Son in the Novices’ Limited Handicap. He ran a lovely race at Newbury last time behind the very highly rated Champ. I thought Robbie Power gave him a great ride to finish third that day. He’s got top weight to contend with here but he should run really well.

My next mount Drinks Interval is switching back to hurdles in the Mares’ Handicap at 1:30. Fingers crossed she can bring back some of her old form. On her old form she should go really close. It’s a race we’re really looking forward to.

Capeland goes in the 3:20. He was really unlucky last time at Ascot where he was disqualified. He has a nice weight in this race, so touch wood he jumps and travels well. I think he’ll run a nice race.

Bravemansgame is a lovely horse that won at point-to-point in Ireland last year. He’s a lovely big, scopey horse and this will be his first run. He’s really impressed us at home, his work has been excellent so we’re hoping for a big run from him tomorrow.