The Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux claimed back-to-back victories in the Grade One Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park today, 26 December.
The seven-year-old son of Kapgarde jumped and travelled well throughout the race, and was stablemate Cyrname’s main challenger turning in for home.
The 11/2 chance pulled 21 lengths clear of his rivals, under Sam Twiston-Davies, after the penultimate fence to win the Boxing Day feature.
It was a record 11th victory in the King George for the winning trainer, who also trained the race favourite and eventual runner-up, Cyrname.
The Willie Mullins-trained runner, Footpad, finished five lenths behind Cyrname in third, while the Betfair Chase victor, Lostintranslation, who is trained by Colin Tizzard, pulled up before the third-last.
The Venetia Williams-trained 28/1 shot, Aso, led the field during the early stages before dropping out of contention to finish fourth, under Charlie Deutsch.
“Cyrname just didn’t seem to have his normal zest, he just ran a bit flat and I was never really happy after he’d jumped a couple and Harry [Cobden] said the same,” said Paul.
“Clan Des Obeaux has had a great preparation for this race, and I’ve always said he’s a better horse this year — he’s a year older and he’s stronger. If he keeps going forward, we could put him in the Gold Cup picture. The key to him is to keep him fresh, so we could go straight to Cheltenham with him.”
The winning jockey was teaming up with the Ditcheat trainer having left the yard’s number one job in 2018.
He added: “I just sat and steered, although the race didn’t go as I imagined it would, but at the same time to come home in front — well it’s beautiful.”
Don’t miss our full report from the Boxing Day racing action at Kempton Park in the 2 January issue of Horse & Hound.
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on HorseandHound.co.uk completely ad-free.