Bowen vs Cobden For The Title

Features | 30th January 2024

The race to be Champion Jockey is hotting up

The Comeback Is On

Sean Bowen appeared to be running away with the prestigious title but a knee injury, picked up in a bone-crunching fall at Aintree on Boxing Day, has opened the door ajar for his rivals.

The 26-year-old missed the whole of January. He had to watch in frustration as Harry Cobden chipped away at his lead.

The wet spell and then cold snap saw a number of meetings cancelled but Harry – backed by the strength of 14-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls – continued to rack up the winners when the weather allowed.

He still has ground to make up but the deficit is likely to be below a dozen winners when Sean returns.

His misfortune has breathed new life into the jump jockeys championship that looked all-but-over going into the two-day Christmas break.

Brian Hughes is unlikely to claim his fourth champion jockey’s crown as a sizable gap has opened between the front two and the reigning champ.

It now looks a straight shootout between two riders gunning for their first champion jockeys’ title.

Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden

Murphy Magic

Harry, 25, will need a prolific final three months to the season but it’s certainly not impossible he could catch Sean.

Another Harry – Skelton – bridged a similar gap when overhauling Brian to take the title three years ago. He’s going to need all the might of his boss during the critical spring period.

Sean will be looking to make up for lost time when he finally returns from his injury-enforced absence. He is expected to get the all clear to resume race riding in the near future.

He’ll have been pleased, if not a little frustrated, to see his main supporter, Olly Murphy, in good form.

The Warwickshire trainer has ended January strongly with a Uttoxeter treble on the final Saturday of the month.

Sean probably wouldn’t have been on board any of them as he is the regular jockey of Noble Yeats.

The Title Race

The 2023 Grand National hero won a thrilling battle with old favourite Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Ironically, it was Harry who replaced him on Emmet Mullins’ Irish raider.

It gave him a double on the day and was further evidence that Sean is not going to have everything his own way in the title race.

One of two immensely-talented riders will be crowned champion jockey for the first time at Sandown’s end-of-season finale on April 27.

It promises to be a thrilling climax and, with the all-important spring festivals getting ever closer, Sean and Harry are sure to serve up a spectacular treat for racing fans.

Jockey Championships