Nicholls plots Gold Cup route for Clan des Obeaux
PAUL NICHOLLS has still to come up with a plan for Clan Des Obeaux before his crack at the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The six-year-old came of age in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, seeing off previous winner Thistlecrack in a terrific tussle. It provided the former champion trainer with a remarkable 10th win in the mid-season highlight.
Asked how special the King George is, Nicholls said: “It’s like a midseason Gold Cup in effect, the best chasers – the best of the best – and to keep producing young horses through the ranks that can win, that is fantastic for the team, the owners and everyone involved.
“The horses that were behind him – Gold Cup winners, King George winners – he’s a young, improving horse that’s going the right way.
“We’ve always thought he was very, very good, it was just a matter of him getting experience and coming along quietly.”
Clan Des Obeaux is part-owned by ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, along with Nicholls’ landlord Paul Barber and Ged Mason.
Ferguson was not at Kempton, instead sticking to the football at Old Trafford.
Nicholls added: “He (Ferguson) knew at halftime – Ged rang him. He’s obviously very excited about it.
“Now we’ll have to think where we go from here to Cheltenham – whether we run him beforehand. I don’t want to get involved in a fight somewhere, like with Native River at Newbury before the Gold Cup – that would be pointless.
“If we went there fresh and well it wouldn’t matter. But we’ve got to give him a go (in the Gold Cup).”