Harry Cobden hopes he can enjoy another day to savour at Kempton Park on Saturday (14th January) by extending his recent run of big-race Saturday winners aboard Pic D’Orhy, who he believes is the ‘horse to beat’ in the Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase.
Since steering the Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame to glory at the track on Boxing Day in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase the 24 year old has gone on to enjoy back-to-back Grade One victories together with the Ditcheat handler the past two Saturdays.
After partnering Hermes Allen to victory in the Coral Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on New Year’s Eve, Cobden made it three Grade One wins in the space of two weeks at Sandown Park at the weekend aboard Tahmuras in the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle.
Now the pair will join forces in a bid for further big-race glory in the extended two and a half miles Grade Two contest with Pic D’Orhy, who will be bidding to follow up his victory at the same level in last month’s Fitzdares Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.
Cobden, who teamed up with Nicholls to win the race in 2021 with Master Tommytucker, said: “This time last season we were struggling a bit and we had a real quiet patch. It happens to every yard at some stage but it just happened to be us last season.
“All the horses have started on the right foot this season. Paul has done really well getting them spot on for their respective targets and those good plans have been well executed recently.
“I thought it was a brilliant run from Pic D’Orhy in the Peterborough Chase last time. He has got his jumping together and he is more confident in that sphere now.
“He was not the most natural over fences at the start but since he had that tumble over them at Newbury last season he has really learnt from it.
“He would just miss the odd one and he used to get a bit bum high and he would just tip over but I’ve learned how to ride him now and we get on much better.
“I think he has got a hell of a chance on Saturday and I’d say he is the horse to beat.”
Having claimed Grade Two glory on Pic D’Orhy at the track in the Coral Pendil Novices’ Chase last season Cobden believes that form will stand him in good stead against Paint The Dream, who is rated three pounds superior.
He said: “Paint The Dream looked good winning that handicap at Newbury last time out and he is a fair horse on his day.
“I definitely think Pic D’Orhy has improved a lot this season while he has good form around Kempton Park which is a plus. The only thing he wouldn’t want is the ground to be too soft.
“We won the Betfair Hurdle together a few seasons ago so to be fair to him he has always been a good horse that has won some decent pots.
“At the moment he is probably five or six pounds short of Grade One class but he is the sort of horse that can win a few of these Grade Two races each season and win plenty of prizemoney to pay his way.”
Cobden also holds leading claims in the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle aboard Pic D’Orhy’s stablemate Outlaw Peter, who is the 5-1 joint ante-post favourite with the race sponsors.
The gelded son of Mustameet, who is part owned by former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and film star Judi Dench, dotted up by 19 lengths on his latest start in a novices’ hurdle at Exeter in early November.
Cobden added: “He was quite a weak horse last season and he was a bit keen going so he never really gave himself a chance.
“He certainly improved a lot on his first run in the autumn this season finishing second in the Persian War at Chepstow off 118 which he was put up 12 pounds for.
“I’m not sure what he beat at Exeter but he has certainly progressed and he has settled down a good bit and he is turning into a good horse.”
Although Outlaw Peter is yet to step foot into handicap company Cobden is confident that he will have the scope to handle the hustle and bustle of such an event.
He added: “He has had a good few runs now so he should be okay in a race like this while he jumps fairly well.
“He schooled well this morning and we go there with a good chance off 130 which is a fair enough mark. He wouldn’t want a trip any shorter as he will probably stay three miles.
“I’d like to think he is fairly unexposed and that he has not shown all his cards yet.
“He might be that he is not good enough and he turns out to be a 125 rated horse, but it would not surprise me if he is better than his mark given how he is now doing everything well.”