Is Clan Des Obeaux poised for more Kempton Park success?

| September 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Clan Des Obeaux etched his place in history by winning the King George VI Chase for a second year in a row at Kempton Park last year. He now faces the challenge of joining truly elite company by attempting to win the prestigious race for a third time.

Only the legendary Kauto Star, Desert Orchid and Wayward Lad have triumphed in the event three times or more, with the last of Kauto Star’s five victories coming in 2011. Clan Des Obeaux has been nothing short of outstanding in his two runs at Kempton Park and is backed at 11/2 in the horse racing betting odds as the favourite to win once again in 2020.

The French thoroughbred burst into recognition with his victory in the event in 2018 as a 12/1 outsider for the crown. He defeated a talented field, including Thistlecrack and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River, enhancing his reputation with a stellar performance. Clan Des Obeaux followed it up with an equally impressive display to win the Denman Chase by 11 lengths at Ascot.

However, he failed to make an impression in the 2019 Gold Cup, finishing off the pace of Al Boum Photo in fifth place. The French thoroughbred ended the campaign with a second-place outing in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree Festival, losing out by a comfortable distance to Kemboy. Clan Des Obeaux returned to action for the new campaign with a solid outing in the Champion Chase at Down Royal, once again placing in second, although this time Road to Respect bested him.

It was not prime preparation for his return to Kempton Park to defend his King George VI Chase crown. Paul Nicholls’ charge was not considered the leading contender, despite his victory the previous year – that tag was bestowed on his stable-mate Cyrname. Even jockey Harry Cobden seemed to agree, selecting to take the reins of Cyrname over the charge that he ridden to victory in 2018. However, with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle. Clan Des Obeaux proved a point and delivered a sensational performance to hammer the rest the field, finishing 21 lengths ahead of his stable-mate.

As a result of his victory, Nicholls again put his charge forward for another attempt at the Gold Cup. With Cobden back at the reins, the French thoroughbred lacked the pace when it mattered the most to make a difference in the contest. He finished down in eighth place out of the reckoning for the crown that went to Al Boum Photo for the second year in a row.

Nicholls is now preparing Clan Des Obeaux for his defence of the King George VI Chase crown to join the great names of the race. There will be challenges from the field, including Santini, who ran a fine race in the Gold Cup to finish second. Nicky Henderson does have a history in the event, training two-time winner Long Run and 2016 champion Might Bite.

The greatest threat may come from Colin Tizzard’s yard with Lostintranslation. The Irish thoroughbred was disappointing last year, but will be richer for the experience and placed third behind Al Boum Photo and Santini in the Gold Cup. Nicholls and Clan Des Obeaux will have to at their best at Kempton Park in December.


Category: Local News and Sport

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