‘We’ve just run out of time’


“We’ve just run out of time”: Clan Des Obeaux will not run this season, but there is still an Aintree option for the Bravemansgame.

Clan Des Obeaux has been ruled out for the rest of the season by Paul Nicholls, but Britain’s champion trainer has said that Gold Cup second Bravemansgame could run at either Punchestown or Aintree.

Although Nicholls has a potential strong replacement for Clan Des Obeaux in Bravemansgame, the horse that has won the previous two Bowls at Aintree will not be ready in time to compete for a third victory in the Grade 1 next month.

The King George winner was brave in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, where he finished seven lengths behind Galopin Des Champs, who jumped the last in tandem with the winner.

Nicholls will not let the presence of Bravemansgame’s Cheltenham conqueror influence his decision if Punchestown is deemed a better fit for him, despite his desire to avoid a rematch with Galopin Des Champs this spring.

“Clan Des Obeaux won’t make it to Aintree; we’ve just run out of time,” said Nicholls. “He’s had a few warning lights flashing, so we’re going to leave him until next season, and now everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of ‘Bravemansgame is going to run now’. Bravemansgame has an option of that or Punchestown, either option is open to us.

“The most important thing is to make sure we’re happy with him wherever he runs, if we do run him again this season. If we could avoid Galopin Des Champs, anyone would wisely do that, especially on his home turf. You’d want to avoid getting into another scrap with him until next March, so that’ll come into our thinking, but we’ll make the best decision for our horse if we’re happy with him.”

Nicholls has won the Aintree Bowl a record six times with See More Business, What A Friend, Silviniaco Conti (two times), and Clan Des Obeaux (two times).

“Age has caught up a little with him and he’s had this very minor injury,” he added. “His suspensory boots have troubled us. We thought he’d get there and we were very happy with him, but by the end of the week we realised we weren’t going to make it. It’s frustrating as it’s a minor injury, but it doesn’t matter the extent, if we have a problem we have to be careful.”

Nicholls will delay any decisions regarding his 11-year-old horse until he has spoken with his owners and has not ruled out another bid for the elusive treble in the Bowl next year. Clan Des Obeaux has not competed since finishing second to Allaho in the Punchestown Gold Cup last season, which is the race that Bravemansgame may be targeting.



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King George winner Clan Des Obeaux is back in training as his recovery continues after his suspensory tendon injury and could be set to return in the spring for Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

The Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old has won five Grade Ones and is targeting a record third Betway Bowl title on tof he 13th April.

Clan Des Obeaux has finished in the top two in 21/31 races, earning prize money in excess of £1 million. He was last raced when finishing second to Allaho in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April. He had won the same race a year before.

Nicholls said, “He’s fine and just started back in work so we’re going to see if we can get him to Aintree. It’s a long way down the line but that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The trainer landed this season’s King George with Bravemansgame, who is now targeting the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Frodon, who managed a respectable third place, has been entered for the Gold Cup but his path will likely depend on his his next start with Taunton’s Portman Cup a likely option.

Nicholls said: “Frodon showed all his usual enthusiasm at Kempton and came out of the race well. He’ll either run in the Portman Cup at Taunton [January 21] if we’re happy with him or possibly the Denman Chase at Newbury [February 11]. He has an entry for the Gold Cup but we’ll see what happens on his next start and make a plan from there.”

Hitman bled in the King George and was pulled up by Sam Twiston-Davies, and will be readied for the spring.

“He made that bad mistake and had a small bleed at Kempton but he’s absolutely fine now and cantering away,” said Nicholls. “There’s no plan for him yet but he’ll be back out in the spring.”




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