King George calling to the Clan
Clan Des Obeaux produced an "awesome run" at Haydock on Saturday, according to trainer Paul Nicholls, who has his eyes firmly fixed on a third King George VI Chase for the eight-year-old.
Clan Des Obeaux finished second to Bristol De Mai in the feature race at the Merseyside track and the run is expected to put him spot on for Kempton on 26th December, where he will attempt to give his trainer a 12th success in the Grade 1.
Nicholls said: "Clan ran well and it's just a shame it rained at Haydock. He was beaten by a real good warrior on that track and ground.
"I think he just didn't quite stay that last little bit on the heavy ground, but he's probably run as good a race as he's run for a long time in the circumstances and a very good King George trial.
"He's A1 today, so it was an awesome run and he won't improve much fitness-wise. He was ready yesterday, but the ground just got too heavy. He ran a super race and we're thrilled with him."
Nicholls finds it hard to split Clan Des Obeaux and his main rival for the King George, Cyrname, who finished second at Kempton last season and was last seen winning the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last month.
"It's almost a swap of last year as Cyrname had a hard race in the 1965 Chase at Ascot on this weekend, which came a bit close to the King George, but he ran three weeks ago at Wetherby, which we wanted this year," added Nicholls.
"Clan's had the reverse and had the harder race this season, so he's got to get over it, but he's probably a different horse to Cyrname and has five weeks, so should be fine.
"They'll both hopefully get to Kempton in really good shape and, as you can imagine, we'll be doing our best to win a twelfth King George."
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