Cobden crowned champion following Chepstow triumph

Harry Codben was crowned champion jockey for the first time after partnering Spring Gale to victory at Chepstow yesterday evening.

Jockey : HARRY COBDEN. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Victory on the 5/2 Henry Daly-trained favourite saw Cobden move six clear of longtime challenger Sean Bowen moving into the final day at Sandown on Saturday and with Bowen booked on four rides, he can no longer catch Cobden, who will be crowned champion jockey for the first time.

The Welshman Sean Bowen, who himself was in the winners' enclosure onboard the Olly Murphy-trained Charging Fire at Perth, missed just over six weeks of the season due to a knee injury and ultimately went down valiantly on the penultimate day of the campaign.

Cobden kept things simple out in front onboard Spring Gale and Henry Daly's charge displayed a willing attitude in the closing stages to fend off She's My Shadow by three and a quarter lengths.

"Lovely job," said Cobden on Sky Sports racing. "Someone asked me how I felt earlier on, and I said it felt like a birthday, it felt like something special happened, but it hasn't really sunk in, I suppose.

"She did it nicely, she was very tough, Henry gave me the perfect instructions, he said she stayed well and she's good and hardy and that's exactly what she is, she'll jump a fence one day and is a nice mare."

Paul Nicholls' number one rider has found himself picking up plenty of outside rides throughout the course of the season, something he pledges to keep going forward in the coming seasons.

He said: "It's been incredible. I've had the best part of 730 rides, made some new connections with great owners and trainers and I've had a fantastic season with Paul as well.

"We've had a couple of Grade 1 winners, Pic D'Orhy was probably the highlight there. It's just been really busy, but I've had a great time and enjoyed it."

Cobden capped off a perfect evening at Chepstow by steering the Paul Nicholls-trained Florencethemachine (9-2) to victory in the finale, the Braceys Handicap Hurdle.

Nicholls, who is also responsible for playing a major role in the career of title challenger Sean Bowen, said of Cobden's accomplishment: "It's good for him. It's been a pretty stressy two or three weeks really. Obviously, we wanted him to finish in front, it's a fantastic effort.

"He's only a young fella and he's come a long way from his first winner for us, which I think was at Wincanton when he was just 16.

"He deserves it, he's put a lot into it this year. I'm not sure he actually enjoys driving everywhere every single day of the week, but he's done well and he's riding so well."

On Sean Bowen, the Ditcheat handler added: "Sean is a very good jockey as well, he rode a lot of winners for us and I'm sure he'll be champion jockey before too long as well. I'm proud of all of them."

Racing and Sports