Harry Cobden has chosen to ride Cyrname rather than last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Paul Nicholls’ stable jockey had a difficult decision to make, but has plumped for Cyrname, who lowered the colours of Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase on his first run since February at Ascot last month.
The mount on Clan Des Obeaux, who was steered to victory by Cobden 12 months ago, goes to Sam Twiston-Davies.
Talking on his Betfair Blog, Nicholls said: “I didn’t envy him his choice as I know he feels strong loyalty to the owners of Clan Des Obeaux given that Ged Mason is his sponsor and Paul Barber has always supported him.
“I simply advised Harry to put all emotion aside and go for the horse he felt had the best chance and I can’t say I was too surprised when he told me of his decision after both horses worked this morning (Saturday).
“Obviously he wanted to check that they were both in good order before picking Cyrname and I’ve now informed the owners involved who are all big supporters of the yard and are looking forward to a great day at Kempton.
“While Harry has had plenty of time to think it over I know he didn’t find it easy to overlook the horse who gave him the greatest success of his career in the King George 12 months ago.
“But we were both delighted by the way Cyrname won at Ascot last month and he is the highest-rated chaser in training on a handicap mark of 177 after his defeat of Altior.
“That is 8lb higher than Clan Des Obeaux who has come on a bundle for his seasonal debut when he finished runner up to Road to Respect in a Grade One race at Down Royal.”
He added: “I couldn’t be happier with both horses and fingers crossed things stay that way until Boxing Day as I seek my 11th win in the race.”