Ni­cholls plots Gold Cup route for Clan des Obeaux

The Racing Paper - - News -

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).”

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