Cobden hoping to come of age with Clan in Gold Cup

Dual King George winner all set for Cheltenham challenge again.

  • Thursday 05 March
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When See More Business gave Paul Nicholls his first Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph in 1999, Harry Cobden had not even had his first birthday.

Fast forward to the present day, and the 21-year-old will bid to give the 11-time champion trainer a record-equalling fifth victory in the blue riband aboard dual King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux.

While Cobden may be too young to remember See More Business first time round, he is well aware of his achievements and the impact his Gold Cup win had on helping to shape the Ditcheat trainer’s career.

Cobden said: “I wasn’t even one when See More Business won the Gold Cup, so I can’t remember any of it at all!

“I don’t think I’ve ever watched his race fully, though that is not to say that I may have caught a glimpse of it somewhere.

“Obviously See More Business was a phenomenal horse and one that really put Paul firmly on the map to help him get to the position he is in today.”

Like See More Business, Clan Des Obeaux will be bidding to make it second time lucky in the Gold Cup, having finished fifth 12 months ago, and Cobden believes he is easily capable of an even bolder showing this time round.

He said: “He looks physically stronger and better than 12 months ago. The rain didn’t help him last year the day before, as it turned the ground really soft.

“To be honest he travelled to the bottom of the hill and jumped the second-last upsides them, but just got tired. He is older and wiser and if he is better this year he should stay further.

“He is stronger than he was at the time last year and if that ground doesn’t become testing he has got a huge chance, all being well.”

Clan Des Obeaux – who stepped up his Gold Cup preparations with a recent racecourse gallop at Wincanton – goes to Cheltenham a fresh horse, with just two starts this season.

Cobden said: “I think Paul is more pleased with him this season. He is going there straight from the King George, so I suppose that is always a plus because he will be going there very fresh.

“A few horses have been running on heavy ground in the run-up before the big day, and that must have some small effect on them.

“He will probably be the freshest horse going there, so theoretically he is having the perfect preparation.”

Although Cobden deserted Clan Des Obeaux in the King George in favour of Cyrname, he believes it was the performance of a potential Gold Cup winner.

He said: “He was very impressive in the King George. He travelled and jumped so well.

“He did everything very well, and it looked so easy. When he hit the front he pricked his ears, but he still scooted away and won by 21 lengths.

“It was a serious performance. I know Cyrname was not at his best, but he still won it really well, which is what you want to see from a potential Gold Cup winner.”

Assessing the likely opposition, Cobden is full of respect for last year’s winner, the Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo.

He said: “I think Al Boum Photo is still the one to beat. He has had a nice prep for the race. Willie has kept him fresh, and he is going straight there again.

“Kemboy is a class horse in his own right, and Delta Work is the new kid on the block, winning all those nice races over in Ireland.

“Santini is a nice horse in his own right, as is Lostinstranslation, but I personally think Al Boum Photo and Delta Work’s form is the best in the book this season.”

Having already achieved more than many could ever hope for in the saddle, victory in the Gold Cup would of course be special for Cobden.

He said: “I’m only 21, and the Gold Cup is the main race I want to win.

“I’d rather win a Gold Cup over a Grand National. It is the ultimate aim and it would be great to do it on Clan, because he has been a magnificent horse to me.”

Cobden hoping to come of age with Clan in Gold Cup

Cheltenham 15:30, 13 March 2020

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