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Harry Cobden not ruling out title bid after best ever start to the season

Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden in the colours of Mrs Johnny de la Hey
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Harry Cobden moved to within nine winners of reigning champion jockey Brian Hughes at the top of the jockeys' championship with a winner at Plumpton on Monday and believes he is in the mix for the title this time around following his best ever start to the season.

The 21-year-old finished well adrift of Hughes and second-placed Richard Johnson in last year's championship but is in the thick of things this season after a productive autumn which has yielded 37 winners already.

Harry Cobden and Cyrname soar over a fence at Wetherby en route to winning the Charlie Hall

At the weekend, Johnson revealed in the Racing Post that regaining his title from Hughes was his main priority for the 2020-21 season but it could be that others such as Cobden, Paddy Brennan and Harry Skelton could also be in contention.

Former champion conditional Cobden expects Hughes will be hard to beat in this year's contest but thinks he is not without a chance in the title race which concludes in April.

He said: "I've made my best ever start to the season and long may it continue. Obviously I'm second in the championship I believe at present so I would think I'm in with a chance of being champion jockey but I expect Brian Hughes to be difficult to beat again."

He added: "Thanks to the boss Paul Nicholls and others that have supported me for helping me get off to a flyer. I rode 83 winners last year before racing was stopped and it could well have been many more as we had plenty primed for Aintree, Ayr and Sandown before racing was called off in March."

Solo: top juvenile hurdler set to return at Wincanton on Saturday

Cobden, who rode 109 winners in the 2017-2018 campaign, added: "Things are going well and I've got a full book of seven rides at Exeter on Tuesday so hopefully a few of those can win and I have some nice rides at the weekend at Wincanton.

"They include Solo in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle and Grand Sancy in the Grade 2 novice chase. Obviously riding that calibre of horse will increase my chances of giving Brian and Richard Johnson a run for their money."

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I've made my best ever start to the season and long may it continue
E.W. Terms