Clan des Obeaux fully ready to rival Lostintranslation in Betfair Chase, says Paul Nicholls
Clan des Obeaux clears the last at Kempton to win the King George VI on Boxing Day 2019
Credit: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Paul Nicholls warned the four potential rivals to Clan des Obeaux in Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock, including previous winners Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai, that his star eight-year-old is fully ready and not going there merely as a stepping stone for another King George.
The trainer, a six-times winner of the Betfair Chase, reckons that Clan Des Obeaux, who will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies on Saturday and in the King George, is one of the ones to beat.
Nicholls, who will not even enter the two-time winner of Kempton’s Boxing Day feature in this season’s Magners Gold Cup because Cheltenham "just isn’t his favourite track", said the gelding, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, had been for a racecourse gallop with the Champion Chase winner Politologue as part of his build up for Saturday’s race.
“He didn’t run in it last year but we ran him there two years ago as much as anything to see if he was a Grade One horse,” he explained. “He progressed to Kempton and went on to win the King George.
“He’s done lots of work and all our big horses are running well first time up. He ran well two years ago but he needed the race. There’s no point going there thinking he’ll need the run. He’s ready and there’ll be no excuses fitness-wise. The track is good for him [because it’s flat].”
Confirming jockey arrangements he added: “I need Harry [Cobden] at Ascot on Saturday and he will ride Cyrname in the King George – he’ll be a different horse going there this year with the long gap after the Charlie Hall.
“I didn’t think there was any point messing about. Sam might just as well stick with him. Cyrname is almost certain to go to the Gold Cup but we’ll keep Clan des Obeaux fresh for somewhere like Punchestown – there are plenty of options.”
If he had a reservation about Saturday’s race it is that Clan Des Obeaux is yet to win beyond three miles – even on a flat track. “He travels well in a race and he can reserve a bit of stamina. Sam will ride him like he did in the King George but last year he’d still have won that even if it had been over three miles one and a half furlongs.
“Bristol de Mai has been fantastic there but is not getting any younger. Tizzard’s are running into form and Lostintranslation won this nicely last year. But we’re setting out to win, we’re not going there for a prep race.”
The other two horses confirmed at the five-day stage were Bellshill, now trained in Scotland by Sandy Thomson, and Keeper Hill. The sponsors make Lostintranslation the 5-4 favourite and go 7-4 Bristol de Mai and 3-1 Clan Des Obeaux.