He only turned 18 three weeks ago yet youth isn’t holding back Harry Cobden. The young conditional is riding on the crest of a wave having clinched his first Grade 1 on Irving in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last weekend.
Currently holding a healthy lead in the conditionals’ race, he delivered the son of Singspiel to lead before the second last.
Over the final flight with a narrow lead, Irving kept responding gamely to his riders urgings but was strongly pressed by the fast-finishing Apple’s Jade in the run to the line.
In what looked a very narrow verdict, the eight-year-old had edged out Gordon Elliot’s filly by a nose taking his second Fighting Fifth in the process.
“Apple’s Jade came past me after the post. I felt like it was 60/40 once I crossed the line so I thought I just held on,” reflected Cobden.
He continued: “I couldn’t of done it without Irving but it was a brilliant day, and it’s definitely a career highlight so far.”
For Cobden, his first Grade 1 victory came on his very first ride at the highest level. Not only this, it added to two Graded victories picked up earlier in the month.
The first of the two came on his birthday at the start of the month, when steering improving four-year-old novice chaser Frodon to land the Grade 2 Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton.
Seven days later at Cheltenham’s November meeting, he delivered the Colin Tizzard-trained Viconte Du Noyer to a length success in the Grade 3 BetVictor Handicap Chase in the colours of Ann and Alan Potts.
With 32 winners on the board so far this term, Cobden is ten winners clear of his nearest pursuer Harry Bannister, who is sidelined with an injury. The race for the conditional jockeys’ championship finishes on April 29 next year.
Cobden said: “Everything is going in the right direction at the moment. Harry Bannister was in second place but he’s injured which is unfortunate for him.
“I’m in Paul’s yard every day, he’s giving me quite a nice few rides and putting me on some exciting types.”
He added: “The goal at the start of the season was to try and ride about 40 winners, I rode 30 last year and I’m hoping and trying to be champion conditional.”