11 time champion trainer Paul Nicholls is very bullish about his dual King George VI Chase winners chances in the Betfair Chase on Saturday, with the eight year old in the five entries for the Haydock feature.
Nicholls has said that Clan Des Obeaux has a "big chance" of giving him a record-extending seventh win in Saturday's Betfair Chase and believes the horse his year just looks like a more athletic version of himself.
Last season the gelding started his term off over in Northern Ireland in November with Nicholls sending him into the Grade One Champion Chase at Down Royal and he finished a smart second behind Road To Respect and it worked out to be the perfect prep run ahead of the King George VI.
However, this season he has chosen a different tactic with the Down Royal event already going ahead and the eight year old was not involved and he will now have his prep run in the Betfair Chase ahead of his hat-trick bid.
Nicholls believes that Clan Des Obeaux is fitter than he was last term ahead of his seasonal debut and with only five runners in the event he can not be discounted at all, but the trainer is wary of the class in the race.
(Credit Racing Post) The Ditcheat handler said: "Bristol De Mai has been a fantastic horse over the years and had some real battles. He's not getting any younger, but he always runs very well at Haydock, although I suppose he's got to leave a few runs from last season behind him when he probably wasn't at his very best.
"If he came back to his best, he's always a danger there, but Lostintranslation looks to be the one and, I dare say, the Tizzard's are running into some form now.
"He'd probably be the one to beat [of the opposition] but in my view Clan is probably one of the ones to beat. He's a dual King George winner and we've set out to win this race and not just go there as a prep for Kempton. All our chasers are in really good shape and he's got a big chance at the weekend."
Nicholls added: "He's only eight, so he's probably at his peak and he just looks a different horse now.
"I don't know why but he's more athletic and stronger and his work's been good. He schooled very nicely this morning; he jumped very well and was very fresh, so I'm very happy with him."