Paul Nicholls believes the best is yet to come from Clan Des Obeaux after the seven-year-old backed up his King George VI success with a polished display in the Denman Chase, boosting his claims for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Clan Des Obeaux – part-owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson – is second-favourite with some bookmakers to give Nicholls a fifth win in jump racing’s blue riband event.
Sent off the 2-5 market leader in the hands of Harry Derham, he accounted for Terrefort by 11 lengths at Ascot.
“He can’t do more than win and he was very good yesterday,” Nicholls told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme.
“He now quickens up in front, he doesn’t idle in front. He’s learning all the time. He’s a real professional.
“He’s just a mature horse – mentally he’s improved a lot. He’s easier to train. We had problems last year, just little immature problems. He’s the finished article now.
“He’s only seven years old. Everyone expects things too soon with these horses and I’d like to think there is more to come over the next couple of years as he gets older and stronger.”
Clan Des Obeaux was one of eight winners for the Nicholls stable on a super Saturday that saw Cyrname produce a personal best in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
However, he will not be part of Team Ditcheat at Cheltenham, as the trainer feels the Ryanair Chase would come too soon and the horse is better going right-handed.
“He puts everything into his races and he’ll be quiet for a week now,” said Nicholls.
“The Ryanair would come too soon, so that’s gone out of the window anyway.
“We’ll try going left-handed one day, we’ll have to.
“We hadn’t planned further ahead than Saturday. That was always his target.
“He’s a very good horse on his day on that particular type of track and his rating his irrelevant.
“It was just an astonishing performance. The others got beat by something that was extra special.”