Paul Nicholls number one rider Harry Cobden has got the riding decision of a life time in the next week or so over which of his retained trainers horses he rides in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
The youngster has sat on both horses for their seasonal debuts this season where Clan Des Obeaux ran to a decent standard at Down Royal in the Grade One Champion Chase only being beaten by Road To Respect who has cleaned up in that fixture for the last few seasons.
Cyrname backed up his credentials as the highest rated chaser when seeing off the mighty Altior at Ascot in the 1965 Chase ending his run of 19 wins over obstacles to the delight of Nicholls.
Cobden sat on board Clan Des Obeaux last season when the seven year old took the King George VI on Boxing Day and is now in a tricky situation whether to stay on the defending champion or switch to one of arguably the best chasers in training at the moment.
(Credit At The Races) Nicholls is ready for whichever way his rider decides to choose saying: "I’ve got it all sorted. If Harry rides Clan, Sean Bowen will ride Cyrname and if it is the other way round Sam Twiston-Davies will ride Clan.
"Harry has probably made his mind up, but I’ve said not to make a decision until the end of this week, as anything can go wrong.
“I said it would be hard to get off Cyrname, as he won those three good races and he looks a good ride – he goes forward and he jumps brilliantly.
“I think it’s a very hard call, as you also have last year’s winner and he looks great and he has had a great preparation. I’m not going to influence Harry at all. The only thing I’ve said is, ‘you ride what you think on the day has the best chance of winning’.”
The 11 time champion trainer has acknowledged he is in a very lucky situation to have some huge chances in this prestigious Grade One at Kempton.
He spoke about Clan Des Obeaux saying: "He looks absolutely fantastic. He is still only a young horse and you can see he has improved physically from a year ago,” said Nicholls.
“He won the race very nicely last year, then won the Denman Chase and he probably didn’t stay in the Gold Cup. He had a lovely run around Down Royal the other day.
“He was always going to go there, as that was going to give me lots of time to get him ready for Kempton. He has won on all sorts of ground and he will get three miles on soft ground at Kempton.
“I’ve been watching Scott (Marshall) working and riding him and I know he is pleased with him and you can see he has got that way about him at the moment.”
He also talked about Cyrname and how he thinks he has been at home since that momentous win over the Nicky Henderson trained Altior.
“He is a different type of horse altogether. He looks great, too. He has come out of the race at Ascot really well. Whatever happened that day, they (Cyrname and Altior) both had a tough race, as any good race at that level will be tough,” said Nicholls.
“The first week after Ascot he did one canter up our hill every day, then the second week two every day, then last week we started back into normal routine and started with some fast work.”