South west-based jockey Harry Cobden has surged to the head of the Stobart Conditional Championship table with 38 winners, 12 clear of his nearest pursuer David Noonan in second, with Jamie Bargary in the third on 25.
Cobden rode a very respectable 30 winners to finish second in the 2015/16 Stobart Champion Conditional title. But the up-and-coming rider has continued to progress this season and eclipse his previous best with just less than four months of the season still to go.
No one will be more pleased to see Cobden progress than his boss, 10-times Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls who has provided the youngster with more career rides (97) and winners (25) than any other trainer. This season alone the Somerset-based trainer has supplied him with 17 winners, with the pair operating at a remarkable 37% strike rate.
Paul Nicholls said of the 18-year-old’s progress: “Harry has done incredibly well this season. He’s only a youngster, but he’s grown up since last year and learning how to deal with people – and that’s helping him improve. He’s ridden a lot of winners for me – a lot of good winners – and he is building his experience and maturity the whole time.”
A fantastic October, and a first Grade 1 win in November, when he steered Irving to victory in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle has seen Cobden emerge as the leading jockey of the current crop of conditionals.
Cobden said of his season so far: “At one stage, near the start of the season, I think I was nine winners behind David Noonan, so to be 12 ahead at New Year is unbelievable. My target at the start of the season was to ride 40 winners, I’m two away, so touch wood it would be nice to get to there and then push for 50.
“I’ve been riding some really nice horses and thankfully some of them have got their heads in front. My win on Irving was massive. I was obviously delighted to get the opportunity to ride him, it was a brilliant day that I will never forget – a career highlight.”