Harry Cobden “keen” to give next season's jockeys’ championship a go after first title success

Harry Cobden cements his place in horse racing history with a first jockeys’ championship
Harry Cobden cements his place in horse racing history with a first jockeys’ championship -Credit:Tracy Roberts Photography

Harry Cobden was crowned champion jockey for the very first time at Sandown on Saturday, and back-to-back titles are certainly on his agenda.

The 25-year-old stable jockey to Paul Nicholls secured the title on Friday after riding Spring Gale to success at Chepstow for Henry Daly, though he finished the card with a victory on Florancethemachine for his boss.

However, he had to wait until the next day to get his hands on the historic trophy as he was crowned champion alongside JP McManus, the champion jumps owner, and Patrick Wadge, the champion conditional jockey.

Having told Matt Chapman on Sky Sports Racing back in February that “if I do it [winning the jockeys’ championship] this year, I’m not going to do it again”, the King George-winning rider could make a U-turn on that call.

“Whether we go for the championship again, that’s undecided,” said Cobden. “My agent is keen, the connections I ride for are keen, and I would be keen to go for it again. I need a bit of support from May to October.

“Last year, we only had six horses through the summer in Ditcheat. It’s not enough; you need 20. Last summer I rode roughly 35 winners for outside trainers.

“Going around scratching for rides is different to having rides in the locker and being ready to roll. Like any jockey, you can’t do it without the horses.”

Although boss Nicholls has been a huge contributor to his stable jockey’s rise to the top of the championship leaderboard, Cobden picked up plenty of outside rides throughout the season, all of which helped on numerous levels.

He continued: “James Owen was a big supporter of mine and I think I’ve ridden for over 70 trainers this season and had lots of owners.

“It’s very different to winning those big races. You ride a lot of low-grade horses and tactically, it has probably made me a better rider.

“I’ve improved from riding those horses and having more rides. In the long run, it’ll do me a lot of good.

“I’ve made lots of contacts. I stepped into the unknown this season as I didn’t know what to expect – I’d never ridden for so many people before. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been a lot of work, but it’s been great.”

As for Nicholls, he was unable to make himself the 15-time champion trainer this season as Willie Mullins took home his first British trainers’ title, though his pride for Cobden’s achievement was apparent throughout the day at Sandown.

Looking ahead to next season, there’s a chance the boss of Manor Farm Stables could run a few more horses over the next few months, as he said: “I’ve got some horses to run over the summer – roughly 10 or 12 – and we might run a few in May.

“My view is to try and get some new ones in and move some of the more ordinary ones on. We need some top-end horses in the yard, and they are not easy to find.”