Clan Des Obeaux set for clash with Native River in Betfair Denman Chase


From left to right: Cyrname, Harry Cobden, Clan des Obeaux, Paul Nicholls, Politologue

Paul Nicholls set Clan Des Obeaux on the same path as Kauto Star and Denman on Tuesday as he committed the King George VI Chase winner to another head-to-head with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday.

Nicholls trained Kauto Star in 2007 and Denman in 2008 to win the Grade 2 prize who make up two of the four horses to capture the Newbury three mile feature and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year.

The other two, Native River, twice winner of the Denman Chase, and Coneygree who is also engaged in the £50,000 contest.

Clan Des Obeaux was one of eight horses to parade at Nicholls’s Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset at a media morning to promote this weekend’s Betfair Super Saturday and the Betfair Ascot Chase to be run at Ascot on February 16.

Clan Des Obeaux schooled this morning and jumped very well so we are looking forward to running him on Saturday,” said Nicholls.

“I didn’t really want to get into a scrap with Native River but there are not any options for him and we have always done well running at Newbury and going on to the Gold Cup with Denman and Kauto Star.

“I think it’s hard for a horse to run at Kempton and then go in the Gold Cup and expect them to run their very best. I’ve always thought a prep run when they are going to improve will do them good. We’ve worked him away quietly, haven’t been that hard on him, he’s in good shape but he will improve from Saturday to the Gold Cup.”

“I can remember running Kauto Star in it and had a bit of a scare when he only just beat L’Ami and he just improved from there to when he went and won the Gold Cup. You don’t want them at their best but you want them fit enough to do themself justice which is where Clan Des Obeaux is at the moment.”

Native River is a Gold Cup winner who will be hard to beat. Colin [Tizzard] will have him fully wound up without a doubt because he will be wanting to win on Saturday. It’s going to be interesting. Everything about him at home I think he is just beginning to become a proper horse, grown up mentally and physically. We are thrilled with him.”

Nicholls is mounting a twin assault on the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, the richest handicap hurdle run in Britain, headed by Getaway Trump, the sponsor’s 9-2 second favourite.

Getaway Trump has been a mightily improved horse this year, really progressive,” he said. “He would have gone close to winning at Chepstow first time up when he made a mistake four out, then he won his next two, and then he was second to Champ in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas.”

“So he has Grade 1 form, he’s obviously improving. On Saturday soft ground and a good gallop will suit him because he stays. He is second favourite and I would like to think he has every chance. He’s the same sort of horse as Movewiththetimes who was second two years ago and the novices do quite well in these races as Kalashnikov and Ballyandy the year before showed.”

With Harry Cobden on Getaway Trump stable conditional Lorcan Williams will partner Mont Des Avaloirs.

“He ran very well in the Gerry Feilden,” Nicholls said. “He wasn’t beaten very far. Put a line through his last run at Ascot. I ran him too quick from Newbury and he ran a bit too free. We’ve kept him particularly for this race because he likes a fast run race – a big field will suit and Lorcan Williams will take 5lb off. He’s on a mark he is capable of going very close off.”

Waiting Patiently and Un De Sceaux among strong entry for Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase

Waiting Patiently, last seen unseating when hampered in the King George VI Chase, and multiple Grade 1 winner Un De Sceaux feature among a strong entry for the Grade 2 Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase.

The race drew a total of 11 horses after it was reopened until Tuesday also attracting Fox Norton and the novice chaser Kalashnikov, winner of the Betfair Hurdle on Betfair Super Saturday 12 months ago.

Paul Nicholls has included Dolos, winner of a handicap chase at Sandown last Saturday, in the race he has won seven times.

Dolos won on Saturday and I think he is going to run in the Game Spirit,” he said. “He loves soft ground and two miles suits him well. He is rated 154 after last Saturday so he is not one to run in the Grand Annual.”

“I see Un De Sceaux is in the race and there are a few others and some that probably won’t run but if there is a small field we will let him take his chance on Saturday. If there are three or four runners he could run well and run into some money.”


Newbury going soft after snow and rain

Clerk of the course Keith Ottesen expects the ground to be between soft and good to soft by the weekend if the forecast proves accurate.

“We had quite a lot of snow last Friday and since that melted along with a bit of rain at the weekend that came to a measurable 26mm in the rain gauge,” he said. “That made the ground soft yesterday after the rain melted.”

“Looking at it again this morning after a dry night I would still leave it at soft but there is almost a bit of good to soft in there. We have outbreaks of rain for the rest of the week, particularly Tuesday night, and some showers on Wednesday. It may be dry Thursday with a few more showers on Friday. Hopefully Saturday is going to be a dry and brighter day but there still could be some showers then.”

“That should keep us towards soft ground, somewhere between soft with a little bit of good to soft if we get some breaks in the weather.”