Trainer Paul Nicholls has always had a penchant for buying young horses and nurturing their talents over hurdles before making them into top-class chasers. Clan Des Obeaux is one such horse and, at the age of six, it is likely this already useful chaser still has his best days ahead of him. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look back at his career so far and what his future targets may be.
Born: April 2012
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockeys: Harry Cobden, Sam Twiston-Davies, Sean Bowen, Noel Fehily, O. Jouin
Owners: Sir Alex Ferguson, Mr & Mrs P K Barber, and Potensis Bloodstock Limited
Breeder: Mme Marie Devilder
Dam: Nausicaa Des Obeaux
Clan Des Obeaux started his career in France in April 2015 in a 12-furlong bumper at La Roche-Sur-Yon. Sent-off at 2/1, he was well-fancied to make a winning start to his career for trainer N. Devilder and he duly obliged by one-length under jockey O. Jouin.
By the time Clan Des Obeaux next appeared in December 2016, he had been purchased by his present owners to run in England and had been placed with trainer Paul Nicholls. He started his English career in a two-mile juvenile hurdle race at Newbury, where he again landed odds of 2/1, this time under jockey Sam Twiston-Davies.
He then ran in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham in January 2016, when he just failed to concede 4lb to the eventual winner. He was then put away for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished sixth in what proved a decent race.
Bought as a chaser, connections decided to waste no more time over the smaller obstacles and Clan Des Obeaux made his chasing debut at Chepstow in October. He was sent-off as favourite in quite a hot heat but didn’t seem to like the track. However, he was still in with a shout coming to the last but hit it hard.
Connections ran him at Newbury next and he again showed his liking for the flat galloping layout with an impressive 10-length win, having been nibbled at in the market.
He was then sent-off as favourite for his next two starts. The first of those was at Cheltenham where defeat to the high-class Whisper proved no disgrace. However, he didn’t appear to take to Sandown’s unique layout next time and finished last after making a series of costly blunders.
Exeter was the next stop and he won a confidence boosting three-runner race there at odds of 4/9, after which he went to Ayr for a Grade 2 Novice Chase. Blunders again cost him dearly though and he finished fourth of fifth behind the useful Cloudy Dream.
Clan Des Obeaux was still only five when he had his seasonal debut in a two-runner race at Kempton. Unfortunately for him, the other runner was Whisper and he again came off second best.
Connections then found him an excellent opportunity in a graduation chase at Haydock and he outclassed some slower rivals.
Having proved below top-class up to this point, Connections decided to pitch Clan Des Obeaux into a handicap for the first time in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December. A mark of 155 was enough to earn him top-weight and he only failed to concede 21lb to the winner Guitar Pete.
He was then put away until the Grand National Meeting in April where, having previously been kept to trips of around 2½ miles, Paul Nicholls decided to step him up to three-miles for the first time in the Aintree Bowl. There was plenty of each-way support around for him in the morning at 14/1 and he was sent-off at 8/1. However, he found both Might Bite and Bristol De Mai too good, though good horses like Tea For Two and Double Shuffle finished behind him.
Clan Des Obeaux made his seasonal debut in the 2018 Betfair Chase. He was the 11/1 outsider of five and finished behind Bristol De Mai, Native River, and Thistlecrack.
What the Future May Hold
So far in his career, Clan Des Obeaux has fallen short of top-class in graded races, with his form full of placed efforts behind top-class chasers like Might Bite, Whisper, and Bristol De Mai. However, that hasn’t deterred Paul Nicholls from targeting him at the King George Chase, and Nicholls knows a thing or two about winning Kempton’s Boxing Day showpiece. However, it’s hard to see him suddenly finding the necessary improvement he would have to find to win, and he’d probably need all the principals to underperform.
However, as he has time on his side, don’t be surprised if Clan Des Obeaux continues to perform over the next couple of seasons, and he may yet prove himself a chaser right out of the top-drawer.