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Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden preview Cheltenham Festival 2021

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author: Jamal Niaz

​​This year marks the first time in which the highly prestigious Cheltenham Festival will take place in front of no crowds; despite the lack of the big race atmosphere, it’s still very much business as usual for Morson-sponsored Paul Nicholls and jockey, Harry Cobden.

All eyes will be on Friday’s premier race, the Gold Cup, and Nicholls feels his horse, Frodon, is in the mix to win:

“He’s the sort of horse that keeps delivering, I never expect too much from him. No one is expecting him to win the Gold Cup but if he won it, I don’t think anybody would actually be surprised. I honestly didn’t see him winning the King George VI on Boxing Day, that was probably a career-best by a long way, the other horses that were in the race that would have got to him, he annihilated them. I think he goes into the Gold Cup with a nice chance, it’s a very open race and he’s a proper horse to be running in it”

 Harry Cobden, 22, is now no stranger to the big occasion with his meteoric rise catching the eye of many in the horse racing world. The calm young man shed light on what these last few years have been like experiencing some of the biggest stages in the sport:

“To be perfectly honest it’s been unbelievable really. I started there when I was 16, just mucking out on a very basic wage then I started getting rides and I’ve never really looked back. I’ve never had a quiet spell if you like, it’s always sort of kept going and I rode a grade 1 winner when I was still a claiming jockey. Most jockeys never get to ride a grade 1, let alone a big winner like that so it’s just sort of a snowball effect. Each year it’s getting bigger and better, I’m riding better horses and in front of more people”

Paul also gave his thoughts on the rapid progression of his young stable jockey:

“He’s done very well hasn’t he. He’s vying for champion jockey this year so just to get that far he’s done well. He keeps learning and you need young guys like that on your team. One thing with Harry is he makes mistakes but he’ll never make them twice. A jockey has got to be good at all aspects and he is and Morson sponsor him too, which is a good combination”

Nicholls is renowned for being one of the most consistently successful trainers in the sport, having trained over 3000 winners, won the Grand National and multiple Gold Cups. The eleven-time champion trainer gave an insight into what keeps him motivated heading into the big occasions after all these years:

“I absolutely love it, this year we’ve had one of our best years with 140 winners and with a bit of luck, we could be champions trainer for the 12th year. I love the competitiveness and most of all I love the horses, you do it because you love the horses, the people, the owners and we’ve got a great setup. That’s what gets you up in the morning and keeps you working away, and my enthusiasm for it never drains and as long as we’re like that we’ll keep going”

The lack of crowd will certainly be a different feel for Harry, who would undoubtedly thrive under a big race atmosphere under regular circumstances:

“Cheltenham’s one of those places where the crowd gets you really buzzed up, there’s thousands and thousands of people there, it’s an unbelievable atmosphere. When you go to ride that first race on Tuesday, you can really hear the crowd cheer. Obviously, this year is going to be really different but we’re just thankful we’re still racing”

He continued:

 “It’s the pinnacle of the racing calendar in the whole of Europe through jump racing. We’ve got a few chances, but Bravemansgame is probably my best chance of a winner at the festival”

 We at Morson wish Paul and Harry the best of luck heading into the festival this week and will be showing our support! Stay up to date with Morson Sport by following us on Twitter@MorsonGroup