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Clan Des Obeaux attempts to land the Denman Chase for the second time after narrowly missing out in last year’s renewal.
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The 2019 winner, who lost out by a neck to Secret Investor 12 months ago, faces four rivals at Newbury including last month’s Peter Marsh champ Royale Pagaille.
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Denman Chase runners
Clan Des Obeaux
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 10 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Top-class chaser who comes here on back of good second in King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Also landed this contest in 2019, but yard’s lack of recent winners is a worry.
Trainer: Colin Tizzard Jockey: Brendan Powell Age: 8 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Has taken his form up a notch this term, bagging Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter before good placed efforts in Peterborough at Huntingdon and Silviniaco Conti at Kempton. Not discounted stepping up in trip.
Trainer: Kim Bailey Jockey: David Bass Age: 9 Weight: 11st 6lbs
High-class chaser at his best, but he’s failed to complete on all 4 starts since winning Ascot Grade 2 last term. Pulled up in Many Clouds Chase at Aintree latest one, so has questions to answer here.
Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 8 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Made massive strides last season, and he took another step forward when defying a BHA mark of 163 in Peter Marsh at Haydock three weeks ago. Another big run expected with ground conditions to suit.
De Rasher Counter
Trainer: Emma Lavelle Jockey: Tom Bellamy Age: 10 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Landed Ladbrokes Trophy here back in 2019 when a very smart chaser. Makes his comeback after 16 months off now though and this is no easy return.
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Denman Chase tips
Matt Chapman: A good clash between CLAN DES OBEAUX and Royale Pagaille but with no sign of a deluge I would expect the former to have too much pace. The Paul Nicholls runner has been off the track since finishing second in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and while that was not a brilliant effort it wasn’t a disaster either. Should take some beating for Harry Cobden.
Mick Fitzgerald: CLAN DES OBEAUX was a little unlucky in the King George. He got beaten in this race last year but when the cheek pieces went on for Aintree they really did the job. The stable form is a worry though. Royal Pagaille needs a test to bring out the best in him and I worry this drying ground will not suit him. If it was to get soft he would enter calculations. Imperial Aura has to overcome a rough 14 months, he is capable though.
Frank Hickey: If it wasn’t for the poor stable form of the Nicholls horses, I would say that Clan Des Obeaux would be very difficult to beat but after seeing how Frodon and Greanateen ran at Leopardstown, I would be slow to take a short price on any Nicholls horse. Royal Pagaille was impressive enough when winning the Peter Marsh off a mark of 163. The worry for him will be the ground, as his best form is definitely on testing ground. IMPERIAL AURA has plenty to prove himself, with his last three starts being a pulled up in the Ryanair, falling in the Betfair Chase (was still going okay though) and pulled up in the Many Clouds. He was showing a bit more in Haydock and he might be worth chancing at the prices.
Timeform: ROYALE PAGAILLE overcame a BHA mark of 163 in Haydock’s Peter Marsh Chase last month so Venetia Williams’ high-class chaser is fancied to claim his most prestigious prize yet en route to another crack at Cheltenham’s Gold Cup. 2019 scorer Clan Des Obeaux rates a formidable threat on his best form but his stable’s lull in form is a big concern. Eldorado Allen is the pick of the remainder.
Ruby Walsh: CLAN DES OBEAUX runs for Paul Nicholls but again it comes back to the question marks over the stable’s form. Clan Des Obeaux is theoretically only rated 6lbs higher than Royale Pagaille but to me, at Newbury, over 2m7f, there’s no contest here. Clan Des Obeaux raced close to that in the King George and still managed to finish second. He’s too quick for Royale Pagaille.
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