Past Winners » Clan Des Obeaux


(Message of 17th November 2019)

I think that there is a good angle to the King George.  I think that Altior is shorter than he should be.

Nicky Henderson’s horse is an unbelievable racehorse, of course.  He has never been beaten over hurdles or fences.  He has raced 14 times over fences, and he has won 14 times.

I just worry about him stepping up in trip, and going to Kempton.  He is nine now, he is rising 10, and he has never been beyond two and a quarter miles in his life.  All his form is over two miles, and he can jump to his left, which is not ideal at Kempton.

He could win the King George of course, but he is a fashionable horse, he is a public horse, and he is priced up accordingly.  There are plenty of unknowns about him, and he is well under-priced in my book at 5/2 or 3/1.

I do like old friend Cyrname as a horse, and he goes well right-handed, and he is two for two at Kempton.  Just in the back of my mind is the fact that the two best runs of his life were at Ascot, and Ascot is a little different to Kempton, for all that they are both right-handed.  Ascot is stiffer, and the fences are different.  If the King George was at Ascot, I would have Cyrname on side, but I think that, at a slightly bigger price, given that it is at Kempton, Clan Des Obeaux is a fair bit over-priced.

Paul Nicholls’ horse was beaten on his seasonal debut at Down Royal, but that was still a fine run, to finish a close-up second to Road To Respect, the pair of them clear.  Road To Respect is a top class horse when he has his conditions, which he had that day, and he goes particularly well at Down Royal.

More than that, Clan Des Obeaux invariably comes on for his seasonal debut.  His record on his seasonal return since he went chasing reads 4242, whereas his record on his second run of the season reads 111.  He was well beaten in the Betfair Chase on his debut last term, and he bounced out of that to win the King George on his second run.

It was encouraging too that Paul Nicholls said after the Down Royal race that he would go straight to the King George now without another run.  You know that, all going well, the trainer will have him at concert pitch on 26th December.

He put up the best performance of his career in the King George last year, obviously over the same course and distance, with a similar preparation to his intended preparation this year, and that is a positive.  As is the fact that, unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the King George is a good race for repeat winners.  In the last 30 years, Desert Orchid, The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, Kicking King, Kauto Star, Long Run and Silviniaco Conti have all won it more than once.  And you can go back to Pendil and Captain Christy and Silver Buck and Wayward Lad if you want.

And he is only seven.  He could still be maturing as a staying steeplechaser.  Four of the last five six-year-olds to win the King George won it again.  I think that he should be favourite.

(Message of 26th December 2019)

There is nothing more to add to the case for Clan Des Obeaux.  I still think that he is over-priced.  Cyrname and Lostintranslation are both fashionable, but there are imponderables about them.  Cyrname has to prove that he can stay the trip and that he can be as good away from Ascot as he is at Ascot, and he was probably trained to the minute for his clash with Altior last time, whereas Lostintranslation still has to prove that he can beat the top chasers, and the time that he clocked at Haydock last time was only ordinary.

Clan Des Obeaux has been trained for today, he should come on appreciably for his seasonal debut, and he put up a career-best in this race last year, over today’s course and distance.