Paul Nicholls hoping it’s third time lucky at Aintree

PAUL Nicholls hopes the application of first-time headgear can revive the fortunes of Clan Des Obeaux as he bids to make it third time lucky in the Betway Bowl at next week’s Randox Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Clan Des Obeaux is due toi line up at Aintree's Grand National meeting for football legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
Clan Des Obeaux is due toi line up at Aintree's Grand National meeting for football legend Sir Alex Ferguson.

The talented nine-year-old, co-owned by football legend Sir Alex Ferguson will attempt to secure his first win since claiming the second of his two Ladbrokes King George VI Chase victories at Kempton Park in 2019.

Runner-up to stablemate Secret Investor in a Grade Two at Newbury last time out, which was his third defeat of the season, Nicholls continues to hold Harry Cobden’s mount in high regard.

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He said: “Clan Des Obeaux will run in the Betway Bowl and he is either going to run in some blinkers or cheekpieces – we will decide nearer the time.

This was Clan Des Obeaux winning the 2018 King George Chase under Harry Cobden.

“He ran very well the last day behind Secret Investor and he deserves to win a nice race this season. He ran on at Haydock in the Betfair Chase but the ground would have been against him that day, then he didn’t quite perform in the King George.

“I just think some cheekpieces or blinkers might just sharpen him up a bit as the other day I thought he should have won at Newbury, but Secret Investor just out-battled him a little bit.

“To be fair, he has had a lot of hard races but he has stayed sound through it all. He probably looks after himself a littl e bit, so a bit of headgear might just focus him a bit more.”

Politologue could be given the chance to return to winning ways in the Grade One Marsh Melling Chase, which he claimed in 2018, after suffering a last minute setback which denied him the chance to defend his Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham.

Nicholls added: “Politologue will either go here or go to Sandown for the Celebration Chase. It was frustrating what happened before the Queen Mother and it just about summed my Cheltenham week up.

“The way the race unfolded you would have to have said he would have been right in the mix. He just had a trickle of blood in his nose. It wasn’t from his lungs. If we would have run him, and something would have happened we would never forgive ourselves so we did the right thing for the horse.

“You can’t take chances with horses like that.”

Nicholls, who is on course to claim a 12th jump trainers’ championship and passed the 150 winners for the season mark on Monday, will also be represented in the two and a half mile prize by Grade Two winner Master Tommytucker.

It is nine years since Nicholls claimed his sole victory in the Grand National with Neptune Collonges getting up on the line and hew runs Yala Enki and Give Me A Copper this year.

Nicholls said: “We took Yala Enki down to David Pipe’s the other day to jump the National fences there and he jumped great. He went to Lambourn to go over the National fences there today so he has had two schools over the fences.

“Give Me A Copper schooled with him at David’s the other day and he did well. He ran well at Doncaster first time then he didn’t run quite so well last time but I’ve always thought this race would suit him.”

Meanwhile the fine form of Bingley trainer Sue Smith continued with the mare Burrows Diamond winning at Newcastle under 2013 National-winning rider Ryan Mania – the mare looks a horse to follow when she goes novice chasing.

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