Teenager Cobden handed coveted ride on Cue Card

CHAMPION conditional Harry Cobden has spoken of his delight after being asked by Colin Tizzard to replace Paddy Brennan on Cue Card.

Trainer Colin Tizzard with Cue Card.
Trainer Colin Tizzard with Cue Card.

Tizzard has chosen to go with a fresh pair of hands on the 11-year-old, who fell heavily in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.

It was a shuddering fall similar to the 2016 and 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cups when Britain’s favourite chaser came to grief at the third last fence in both renewals.

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The 19-year-old, who rides principally for Tizzard and Paul Nicholls, schooled Cue Card yesterday. “He felt A1. I’m very much looking forward to riding him,” said Cobden.

“It is a great opportunity for a young jockey to pick up a ride like that and the target is the Betfair Chase. I ride out for Colin every Wednesday and I know all the horses well. I’ve not really got any commitments in Graded races so it will be nice riding a horse like that as these opportunities don’t come around too often.”

Cue Card’s next race is due to be the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 25, a race he has won three times in the past.

Brennan, whose impetuosity might have been a factor in Cue Card’s falls, blamed a low sun for parting company with the veteran at Wetherby after kicking Cue Card into the fifth last fence.

He then returned to the weighing room, and the horse’s visibly shaking owner Jean Bishop was left waiting for many minutes, before the rider reappeared to offer a cursory explanation.

Tizzard said the decision was nothing personal.

“I spoke to Paddy on Monday and said I thought the horse deserved to have a change of rider as he has fallen twice out of the last three times. He said it was fair enough,” said the trainer, who opted for the teenage Cobden over experienced riders like Bryan Cooper and Aidan Coleman.

“It’s not a big issue changing jockey as we do it all the time, but it might be on Cue Card because of his profile. I like the idea of having a younger man on him. I’ve known Harry all my life and he has got plenty of experience. He has ridden a lot of winners for us and he is a good young rider. I consulted Jean about it and she is a very loyal person, but she thought the horse deserved a new rider. He (Cobden) will be scrutinised... getting on Cue Card when you are 19-years-old, he should be chuffed.”

Meanwhile, Tizzard’s Thistlecrack, the reigning champion, heads the field for Kempton’s King George Chase on Boxing Day. The horse has been recovering from a minor tendon injury and is due to reappear in Newbury’s Long Walk Hurdle next month.

The funeral of Mary Reveley, Britain’s winning-most female trainer, will take place next Tuesday at St Nicholas Church, Guisborough, at 1.15pm. She died at her family’s Saltburn stables last Monday.