Nicholls confident in Clan stamina ahead of Betfair bid
Paul Nicholls is confident Clan Des Obeaux will have no problem getting the trip when he attempts to give the trainer a seventh Betfair Chase success at Haydock.
The eight-year-old will make his seasonal return in the Grade One prize, in which he finished fourth in two years ago, ahead of attempting to defend his Ladbrokes King George VI Chase crown at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Although Clan Des Obeaux is yet to win beyond three miles, the 11-times champion trainer expects him to have enough stamina to see out the extra furlong and a half on Merseyside.
Nicholls said: “He travels well and you could put him anywhere. You would want to reserve a little bit of stamina as it is three miles, one and a half furlongs.
“He has not won over that trip before, but I don’t think it is a problem – you just ride him accordingly and slot him in anywhere.
“Sam (Twiston-Davies) and Harry (Cobden) both said if the King George was three miles, one and a half last year, he would have still won, so I don’t think the trip is an issue.”
With stable jockey Cobden set to go to Ascot at the weekend, Clan Des Obeaux will be reunited with Twiston-Davies for the first time since the pair won last year’s King George VI Chase.
Nicholls added: “Sam Twiston-Davies came in to ride him this morning as he will ride him on Saturday, as Harry is going to Ascot and if Cyrname gets to Kempton, Harry will ride him.
“He jumped very well this morning. He was very fresh and I was very happy with him.
“Sam won the King George on him last year and it’s easier for him to ride him Saturday, so it works out well like that.”
The forecast looks encouraging and there is no cold weather, so it’s all systems go
Nicholls had considered giving Clan Des Obeaux an alternative entry in the Grade Two Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday, but with the ground at Haydock not set to be testing, all roads will lead there.
Nicholls said: “If they had forecast torrents of rain at the end of the week and you ended up with Haydock being very heavy, I was thinking of putting him in at Ascot to cover my options.
“If the going at Haydock is as it is now, he will definitely run there. The forecast looks encouraging and there is no cold weather, so it’s all systems go.”
Assessing the potential opposition, Nicholls believes last year’s winner, and Gold Cup third, Lostintranslation represents the biggest danger to stopping Clan Des Obeaux from adding a third Grade One victory to his CV.
He added: “Lostintranslation looks to be the main one. The Tizzards are running into some form now.
“Though he was disappointing in the King George he won this race very nicely last year and he would probably be the one to beat.
“Bristol De Mai has been a fantastic horse over the years and we’ve had some real old battles, but he isn’t getting any younger, although he always runs very well at that track. If he came back to his very best, he is always a danger.
“We’ve set out to try to win this race and not go there as prep to Kempton. He has got a big chance at the weekend.”
Bellshill and Keeper Hill complete the five entries for the race.