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Harry Cobden pays tribute to Keagan Kirkby after Taunton winner

Harry Cobden dedicated Fire Flyer's victory on Tuesday to the late Keagan Kirkby following his fatal fall at Charing point-to-point at the weekend

Harry Cobden
Image: Harry Cobden paid tribute the late Keagan Kirkby

Harry Cobden paid an emotional tribute to his late colleague Keagan Kirkby after steering Fire Flyer to a second victory in the space of a week at Taunton on Tuesday.

Kirkby, 25, a point-to-point rider and highly-valued member of the Paul Nicholls team at Ditcheat, died following a fall at Charing point-to-point in Kent on Sunday.

Title-chasing Cobden rode a four-timer for Nicholls at Musselburgh on the same afternoon and was back in action for the first time since aboard Fire Flyer in division two of the Racing TV Club Day Novices' Hurdle, with jockeys at the Somerset track observing a minute's silence and sporting black armbands.

Having finished second to Brechin Castle in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham before chasing home the exciting Gidleigh Park on his hurdling debut at Newbury, the six-year-old landed cramped odds of 2-13 when going one better at Wincanton last week and was sent back into action just five days later.

It was not entirely plain sailing for the 5-6 favourite, whom Cobden said Kirkby rode in his work at home, with Secret Squirrel giving him a real run for his money, but Fire Flyer got on top late on to score by a neck.

"Paul had his mind made up that he wanted to get him out quickly because he wanted to give him the four weeks to the EBF Final from today," Cobden told Racing TV.

"I'd just like to say a special word for Keagan Kirkby because he rode that horse every day, so that was for him. He deserved that."

The British Horseracing Authority and Point-to-Point Authority have pledged to carry out a full review into the tragic death of Kirkby to gauge whether any lessons can be learned.

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