Nicholls ponders Clan plan

King George winner may go straight to Cheltenham

  • Friday 28 December
  • News
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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 to him, Nicholls told Sky Sports News: “It’s like a mid-season 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 – and he showed how good he was on Boxing Day.”

Clan Des Obeaux is part-owned by ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, along with Nicholls’ landlord Paul Barber and Ged Mason.

However, Ferguson was not at Kempton – instead sticking to the football.

Nicholls added: “He (Ferguson) knew at half-time – Ged rang him. He’s obviously very excited about it, as are Paul (Barber) and Ged.

“Paul was, of course, involved in my first King George winner (See More Business) – and that was his third King George. We’ve got to try to win a third Gold Cup for Paul now if we can, and I’d like to think this horse might get there.

“He’s put himself firmly in position to have a chance, and now we’ll have to think where we go from here to Cheltenham – whether we run him beforehand somewhere. 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.

“So we’ve got to map out a plan – if we went there fresh and well it wouldn’t matter. But we’ve definitely got to give him a go (in the Gold Cup).”

Nicholls’ powerful stable has been back in imperious form of late, with Clan Des Obeaux the pick of many notable winners over Christmas.

He said: “We’ve got some really smart young horses that have come from three-year-olds onwards and it’s really exciting to be back there with some really nice horses.”

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