Betway Bowl Chase
|Grade 1, Aintree 14:55
3m 210y, Class 1
1 Clan Des Obeaux 13/2
2 Conflated 9/2
3 Kemboy 5/1
9 ran Distances: 1l, 8l, 17l
Time: 6m 33.30s (slow by 21.30s)
Second in the race to Kemboy in 2019 and successful 12 months ago, Clan Des Obeaux has also won the King George at Kempton twice.
He was on something of a retrieval mission here, however, as having finished second in the King George at Christmas he was disappointing in the Denman Chase at Newbury.
But in another example of why Nicholls has been a multiple champion he reached for first-time blinkers and Clan Des Obeaux looked back to his best.
With Nicky Henderson, and even Willie Mullins and Dan Skelton holding out hope of catching Nicholls in the race to be champion trainer, the £140,000 added to his tally here could make all the difference.
With Kemboy’s jumping not holding up to the test on this occasion he was a spent force as Harry Cobden came alongside at the third-last.
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Davy Russell was still trying to creep into contention on Conflated, but Clan Des Obeaux went six lengths clear – only to get very tired in the final 50 yards.
Conflated closed to within a length, but the line came just too soon for him. Protektorat, third in the Gold Cup, travelled well for a long way but his Cheltenham exertions took their toll and he faded tamely in the straight.
Nicholls said: “You’ve to just keep changing things with the older horses, he didn’t run quite as well as we thought he was going to do at Newbury but he was trained for today, not for Newbury and he’s improved from then.
“We just tried to do something different with him, it’s just sharpened him up so much. He was getting a bit idle, he’s pricked his ears before the line there. When they get a bit older, he’s 10, they know the routine, they get a bit lazy.
“I wasn’t too despondent at Newbury, Harry was a little bit, but he always comes good in the spring. I’m delighted, things haven’t gone as well as I’d have liked and I’ve been pulling my hair out since Christmas to be honest with you. To get him back looking like that is a team effort.
“He’ll definitely go to Punchestown now, that was always the plan. He’s had some hard battles over the years, particularly at Punchestown, and you just wonder if they’re going to show that form again. He loved it round there, he had a great ride, jumped brilliant – it was perfect.”
He added of the nervy finish: “He was always going to hang on, he pricked his ears a little bit. Harry will be chuffed with that and that was a big boost for us. It’s a help, winners like that, but there’s still plenty to go and there’s Sandown still.
“It’ll make it (title) interesting, anyway!”
Betway Bowl Chase
£250,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 3m 210y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Clan Des Obeaux 10 11-7 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 13/2
2 1 Conflated 8 11-7 Gordon Elliott Davy Russell 9/2
3 8 Kemboy 10 11-7 W P Mullins Paul Townend 5/1
4 17 Protektorat 7 11-7 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 5/2F
5 5 Royale Pagaille 8 11-7 Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch 8/1
6 2¼ Nuts Well 11 11-7 Ann Hamilton Danny McMenamin 40/1
7 9 Eldorado Allen 8 11-7 Colin Tizzard Brendan Powell 11/2
PU Bristol De Mai 11 11-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Daryl Jacob 25/1
PU Itchy Feet 8 11-7 Olly Murphy Aidan Coleman 66/1
Betway Bowl - Previous Winners
2021 Clan Des Obeaux
2020 ABANDONED due to Covid-19
2018 Might Bite
2017 Tea For Two
2016 Cue Card
2015 Silviniaco Conti
2014 Silviniaco Conti
2013 First Lieutenant, Gigginstown House Stud, Mouse Morris IRE 08-11-07 Bryan Cooper 7/2
2012 Follow The Plan, Redgap Partnership, Oliver McKlernan IRE 09-11-07 Tom Doyle 50/1
2011 Nacarat, Simon W Clarke, Tom George 10-11-07 Paddy Brennan 7/2