Skip to content
  1. Horse Racing
  2. Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival: Harry Cobden profile

Harry Cobden is the number one jockey at Ditcheat for Britain's champion trainer Paul Nicholls and the rider's talents have really started to shine through of late.

He heads for the Cheltenham Festival in March with plenty of chances for success and can be backed at 20/1 to be Top Jockey at the meeting for the first time in his career.

He seemingly has wisdom beyond his 24 years and Cobden is learning to cope with the pressure of being the main man at one of Britain's biggest training operations. 

Rapid rise to the top 

By the age of just 19, Cobden had been named stable jockey for top jumps trainer Nicholls and claimed a first Cheltenham Festival win on Kilbricken Storm for Colin Tizzard, the man that really helped get his career on the move.

Growing up in Somerset, a hotbed of National Hunt racing, the young Cobden spent his formative days on the beef farm that his parents run, ensuring animals were always going to be a part of his life. 

He was pony racing before his tenth birthday and local trainer Ron Hodges was amongst the earliest outside influences on the youngster.

Having competed against Nicholls' daughter Megan on the pony racing circuit, Cobden was soon spending his summers riding out at nearby Ditcheat, where his skills were honed watching the likes of Ruby Walsh at work.

Getting winners on the board 

Cobden's first win under Rules was actually for Anthony Honeyball in March 2015 and it came with a story attached. 

The now 16-year-old Cobden skipped his English GCSE exam to ride El Mondo at Leicester for Honeyball's wife, Rachael Green, in a hunters' chase and brought the horse home in front at odds of 33/1.

He was soon to be offered a job as a conditional rider at Ditcheat, and he got the first key winner of his career when landing the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November 2015 on Old Guard. 

He had 30 winners in that 2015/16 campaign and was splitting his time between Nicholls and Tizzard but a major career decision was pending before he'd even left his teens behind. 

Related Cheltenham Festival News

Cheltenham Festival: Davy Russell profile

Cheltenham Festival: Rachael Blackmore raises the bar for female jockeys

Cheltenham Festival: Allaho

Cheltenham Festival: Princess Zoe

Ditcheat job too much to turn down

Having won the Champion Conditional Jockey for 2016/17 and already bagged a Grade 1 win in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Irving, Cobden took the plunge.

On 4th May 2018, it was announced that he would replace Sam Twiston-Davies as stable jockey for Paul Nicholls at Ditcheat.

"It was a big decision at the time as I was also riding a lot of winners for Colin Tizzard, a neighbouring trainer. After taking my time to think about it, I accepted the job and haven't looked back," Cobden later reflected.

Nicholls, for his part, said that he 'had to act' with the knowledge that Tizzard was also keen to have him as stable jockey.

Barely a month after starting in the role, he suffered a serious neck injury that kept him on the sidelines for almost four months. 

In 2018/19, Cobden hit a century of winners as he established himself in the role at Ditcheat, bagging the 2019 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on board Topofthegame.

Season to remember so far

This season has been a standout one for Cobden and, in the eyes of many, a true coming of age.

He won the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day with a well-judged ride on Bravemansgame, and that particular runner is now 9/1 to give him his first sampling of Cheltenham Gold Cup glory on 17th March. 

Either side of the New Year, Cobden actually managed to make it three successive Grade 1 wins in Britain as Hermes Allen won the Challow at Newbury and then Tahmuras bagged the Tolworth at Sandown. Both exciting novices have targets in the Cotswolds in March. 

Hermes Allen is the 11/4 favourite to win the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on day two of the Festival, 15th March, while Tahmuras looks set to line up in the curtain-raising Supreme Novices' Hurdle a day earlier, where he's 9/1 to win. 

With long-time ante-post favourite Facile Vega a spectacular Dublin Racing Festival failure recently and now rated a 7/2 chance, the Supreme looks a wide open contest and both Nicholls and Cobden will be feeling there's more in the locker with Tahmuras given how readily he got to the front in the Tolworth at Sandown.

Ultra-impressive Newbury scorer Hermes Allen does, however, appear the top novice over hurdles for the powerful duo as they look to continue a fine season.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy