Harry Cobden is fast establishing himself as one of the most exciting jump jockeys riding.
Champion conditional rider last season, Cobden, who already has a Grade 1 win to his name in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, has kicked on again this season.
Supported by Paul Nicholls and Colin Tizzard, Cobden has had the opportunity to ride some of the most promising horses in training and has another big weekend in store at Cheltenham.
Let’s begin with our horse Battle Of Ideas. What did you make of his performance at Exeter the other day?
He travelled and jumped very well. He got impeded by a loose horse down the back a couple of times, but apart from that I was really impressed with the way he stayed on up the straight. He stuck to his guns really well and I think he’ll improve again next time. He’s going the right way and, with a bit of luck, the Coral Champions Club have a nice horse on their hands.
He is trained by Colin Tizzard. What are he and his son Joe like to work with?
Fantastic. They’ve got a lovely team of horses in there. I go in once a week to do a bit of schooling and what not, and everything’s done very professionally and done the right way. It’s a great yard to be involved with.
Paul Nicholls is your boss. What is it like working at Ditcheat?
He’s a fantastic trainer, a genius really. It’s a very controlled environment with the horses all looking fantastic and in good spirits. It’s very professional and a pleasure to work in such a good yard.
You have been given the high-profile ride on Cue Card in the Betfair Chase. How do you feel about that?
I’m very happy to get the opportunity. I got a nice feel off him around Wincanton last Saturday. We only went for a little two-mile canter but he felt fantastic and I’m very much looking forward to him.
White Moon was an impressive winner under you at Exeter. How good do you think he could be?
He’s a very smart horse and he could go all the way. I know the Kim Bailey camp thought a lot of their horse Rhaegar, who finished second. Dave Bass said to me afterwards they thought their horse was a machine, so it’s nice White Moon was able to come out and win so well. He’s stepped up a lot from his first run and I think he’s a very special horse, which is great for his owners Ann and Garth Broom as they’re lovely people.
You have been riding in a lot of small-field novice chases recently. Nevertheless, Give Me A Copper looked good at Kempton. Would you agree?
I would go as far to say that he’s one of the smartest novice chasers I’ve ridden. The manner he goes about his races is very professional. He travels well and jumps amazing, and while it was a two-runner race the horse he beat was pretty decent. I was only doing a hack canter and when I gave him a kick going into the last he went about three lengths clear with his ears pricked. I could see him running in a Ladbrokes Trophy one day.
You were champion conditional jockey last season. How have things been this year without your claim?
It’s been similar to last year really. I’ve been riding some nice winners and I’ve been getting a few more chances since Sam Twiston-Davies unfortunately got injured the other day. Mr Nicholls and Mr Tizzard are fantastic and a lot of their horses are push button and well schooled, so it makes it easy. I just want to keep all the owners and trainers happy and keep riding winners.
Looking at Cheltenham on Saturday, you ride Romain De Senam in the BetVictor Gold Cup. What do you think of his chances?
He’s gone up a little in the handicap for his two wins. He’s progressive and Mr Nicholls feels he’s coming right and firing on all cylinders. He schooled on Wednesday morning and jumped very well. Mr Giles, who is one of the owners, is really looking forward to seeing the horse run and I think he can run a big race as long as the rise in the weights doesn’t stop him.
And, finally, what do you have to look forward to at Cheltenham on Sunday?
I ride Amour De Nuit in the Greatwood Hurdle. He’s got a featherweight and won a Listed race at Kempton last time out. He loves good ground so I can’t see why he won’t run well. Capitane looked amazing when I saw him on Friday. He’s come out of his Market Rasen win in great shape and is a genuine, proper horse. Slate House looked very impressive at Wincanton. I schooled him on Wednesday morning and he felt amazing too. I’m really looking forward to riding him.