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Blow for Brennan as Cobden bags Cue Card ride for Betfair Chase

Paddy Brennan has lost the ride on Cue Card with Harry Cobden set to take over on the popular 11-year-old.

Trainer Colin Tizzard revealed the news on Wednesday, just four days after Cue Card took a crashing fall under Brennan in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

Tizzard said at Chepstow on Wednesday: “I spoke to Paddy on Monday and I said I think the horse deserves to have a change of rider as he has fallen twice out of the last three times and he replied ‘fair enough’.

“It’s not really a big issue changing jockey as we do it all the time but it might be on Cue Card because of his profile. It is fresh hands on board so we will see what happens.

“Harry might be available for two or three races and I like the idea of having a younger man on him. I’ve known him 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.

“The horse’s owner Jean Bishop is a very loyal person but she thought the horse deserved a new rider. He will come under scrutiny no doubt, but getting on Cue Card when you are 19 years old, he should be chuffed.”

Brennan, 36, first rode Cue Card when winning the 2015-16 Charlie Hall and has taken the ride on all 12 subsequent starts.

The result has been six wins, including two Betfair Chases and the King George in 2015, perhaps the highlight of the horse’s career.


Brennan highs and lows

March 2007 Wins the World Hurdle on Inglis Drever

June 2007 Loses job with trainer Howard Johnson to Denis O’Regan

March 2010 Wins Gold Cup on Imperial Commander

April 2011 Loses Nigel Twiston-Davies job as the trainer’s son Sam gets more opportunities

2015/16 Has a stellar season winning the Charlie Hall, Betfair Chase, King George and Bowl on Cue Card but falls from Cue Card at the third last when in with every chance of winning the Gold Cup

November 2016 Guides Cue Card to a third Betfair Chase success by 15 lengths from Coneygree.

November 2017 Falls from Cue Card in the Charlie Hall and loses the ride


However, three of the 13 runs have resulted in falls. Most famously, the pair came to grief three out in the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup when still travelling well in pursuit of the triple crown of steeplechasing, which would have delivered a £1 million bonus to connections. He was not travelling so well when he departed at the same fence in this year’s Gold Cup.

Cobden said: “It’s a massive opportunity for a young jockey like myself to get the call-up to ride a high-profile horse like Cue Card and I’m very much looking forward to it.

“I schooled him at Colin Tizzard’s yard this morning and he gave me a really good feel so I am looking forward to riding him in public for the first time in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in a couple of weeks’ time.”

The rise of Harry Cobden

Cobden is one of the current wave of teenage riding talents and the reigning Stobart Conditional Jockeys Champion, which he won at a canter with 63 winners, having finished second in his first full season with a licence the year before.

His conditional licence was with Paul Nicholls, for whom he still rides, and he has made a stellar start to his riding career with 114 winners already from 588 rides.

He shot to fame when winning the Greatwood Hurdle in 2015 on Old Guard and has since won his first Grade 1 – the 2016 Fighting Fifth aboard Irving – while he landed a Grade 3 at Cheltenham’s November meeting on Colin Tizzard’s Viconte Du Noyer and also guided the trainer’s Ultragold to glory over the Grand National fences in the Topham.

Only Nicholls has provided the 19-year-old with more rides than Tizzard, for whom he has ridden 16 winners at a 19 per cent strike-rate.

He is widely considered to be an impressive young rider who gets horses into a lovely jumping rhythm and has a patience that belies his relative inexperience in just his third full season.

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