How long has Harry Cobden been stable jockey to Paul Nicholls?

Harry Cobden was announced as stable jockey to Paul Nicholls at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset in May, 2018, immediately prior to the start of the 2018/19 National Hunt season. Cobden succeeded Sam Twiston-Davies, who had replaced the previous incumbent, Daryl Jacob, four years earlier, but chose to go freelance in the face of increased competition for rides from the likes of Cobden, Bryony Frost and Sean Bowen.

A graduate from pony racing, Cobden was encouraged to pursue a career as a jockey by local trainer Ron Hodges, for whom he began riding out at the age of just nine. Cobden left school, at the age of 16, in 2014 and spent seven months working for Dorset trainer Anthony Honeyball before being offered the position of conditional jockey at Nicholls’ yard. In his first season at Manor Farm, 2015/16, Cobden rode 30 winners but, in 2016/17, increased his winning seasonal tally to 63 winners; he rode out his claim in early February, 2017 and subsequently won the conditional jockeys’ championship by a wide margin. With continued support from Nicholls and fellow West Country trainer Colin Tizzard, Cobden has pressed on with his career, riding 76, 109 and 83 winners in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, respectively. His meteoric rise to the top of his profession has already included seven Grade One winners and he looks to have a bright future.

On which horse did Jimmy Frost, father of Bryony, with the Grand National?

Although a respected trainer in Buckfastleigh, Devon and a former Grand National-winning jockey, Jimmy Frost is probably best known, nowadays, as the father of Bryony Frost, who has taken the world of National Hunt racing by storm since riding her first winner, as an amateur, in February 2015. Nevertheless, Frost Snr. rode his first winner under National Hunt Rules, Mopsey, at Taunton, at the tender age of 15 in February, 1974, and his last, Bohill Lad, at Exeter in March, 2002.

All told, in his 28-year career, Jimmy Frost rode 510 winners under Rules, but arguably the most memorable of them all was Little Polveir in the 1989 Grand National. Having finish a respectable, albeit remote, ninth of seventeen finishers behind West Tip in the 1986 Grand National, Little Polveir had unseated rider at The Chair in 1987 and, again, at the thorn fence five from home in 1988. By the time April 8, 1989 rolled around, the former Scottish Grand National winner was a 12-year-old and considered by some observers to be past his prime. Nevertheless, he had recently been bought by Edward Harvey and transferred from his previous trainer, John Edwards, to Gerald ‘Toby’ Balding.

Saddled with just 10st 3lb on his favoured heavy going and ridden by Jimmy Frost, who was making his Grand National debut at the age of 30, Little Polveir was sent off at odds of 28/1 to win the celebrated steeplechase. He led with a circuit to race and, having narrowly avoided some errant spectators turning for home, showed admirable bravery to fend off his pursuers in the closing stages. He eventually passed the post 7 lengths ahead of West Tip, with former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner The Thinker half a length further back in third place.

Can Frodon & Bryony Frost make history in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Bryony Frost has made no secret of her affection for Frodon and, not for the first time, the pair exceeded expectations when making all the running to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Paul Nicholls’ eight-year-old belied odds of 20/1 on that occasion, jumping well at the head of affairs and coming home 2¼ lengths ahead of Waiting Patiently, with defending champion Clan Des Obeaux 6 lengths further back in third place.

Frost, already the first woman to ride a Grade One winner at the Cheltenham Festival, wrote her name into the record books again by becoming the first female jockey to win the King George VI Chase and the most successful female National Hunt jockey in history, with 175 winners. Frodon, too, booked his place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for which he is currently 16/1 sixth favourite.

Of course, 3 miles 2½ furlongs around Cheltenham is a much sterner test of stamina and jumping ability than 3 miles around Kempton, but Frodon has an admirable record on the New Course at Prestbury Park, having won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, Cotswold Chase and Ryanair Chase in recent seasons. He has won at distances up to 3 miles 1½ furlongs on going ranging from good to heavy so, now a dual Grade One winner, he needs to be taken seriously on his first attempt in the ‘Blue Riband’ event.