'How not to ride Kempton' - Fitzgerald critical of Cobden's win on McFabulous
McFabulous dispelled doubt about just how good he could be with a silky smooth victory in the Relkeel Hurdle, nudged out by jockey Harry Cobden to provide trainer Paul Nicholls with yet more success on a memorable day.
Cobden was noticeably wide throughout the race on McFabulous, meaning he had to take the final bend four horses wide, with ITV Racing’s Mick Fitzgerald saying that “if you wanted to show somebody how not to ride Kempton that’s it. I couldn’t believe how wide he was.”
The rider admitted it had not been the plan and was able to “get out of trouble” thanks to the talent of the horse he was riding.
“I was there for a bit of light but I didn’t anticipate going that wide and going four-wide into the bend wasn’t ideal, but fortunately I had plenty of horse under me and he got me out of trouble,” he said. “I was never concerned as I was always confident I had loads of horse under me and I could afford to go that wide and still get away with it.”
Fitzgerald said Cobden’s admission showed why “he has a real future”, adding: “The only way to get better is to be self critical and he knows himself that was not ideal but he had to do it.”
McFabulous was cut to 12 (from 16) by the sponsors, who are non-runner, no bet for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle by Betfair, with Cobden confident the Giraffa Racing-owned runner would stay 3m despite widely being considered not to have got the trip at Newbury when beaten by Thyme Hill and Paisley Park.
“I’m sure he stays three miles – I was flat out most of the way here,” Cobden said. “The main thing today is he’s not had a hard race, I’ve not gone for him and I’ve tried to save as much [as possible] for the next day.
“The race at Newbury was a tricky one and I’m still scratching my head about it now. Maybe he’s just got one decent run in him and if we’re going to run in the Stayers’ Hurdle we’d maybe try to cover him up and come with one run.”
Cobden added that Aintree rather than Cheltenham may ultimately suit McFabulous better and added: “A flat track would probably suit him. I wouldn’t say he couldn’t go to Cheltenham.”
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