Clan Des Obeaux powers to King George repeat
Last year's winner Clan Des Obeaux provided Paul Nicholls with a record 11th victory in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton yesterday.
Although only five runners went to post for the traditional Boxing Day feature, the race did not lack intrigue, with the defending champion Clan Des Obeaux taken on by his top-class stablemate Cyrname, Betfair Chase hero Lostintranslation, Irish raider Footpad and outsider Aso.
Having inflicted a first career defeat over jumps on Altior at Ascot last month, Cyrname was the well-backed 5-4 favourite, with Harry Cobden siding with him over Clan Des Obeaux.
After initially taking a lead from Aso, Cyrname adopted his customary prominent position at the head of affairs with over a circuit to go - and was still just about in front rounding the home turn.
However, 11-2 chance Clan Des Obeaux was travelling the better of the pair in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies and pulled right away between the final two fences, winging the last to score by 21 lengths.
Cyrname boxed on to finish second and provide the champion trainer with a one-two, ahead of Footpad in third.
The big disappointment was the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation, who seemed to be struggling to keep tabs early on and was ultimately pulled up by jockey Robbie Power, having briefly looked like he might play a part at one stage.
Nicholls said of Clan Des Obeaux: "I've always said he's a better horse this year, as he's a year older and stronger.
"If he keeps going forward it could put him in the Gold Cup picture.
"It was a tough call for Harry (which horse to ride), I couldn't really advise him what to do, it was a tough one."
He added: "We've got to go for 12 now, haven't we? There's no reason why both horses won't be back next year.
"I just love winning the good races - preparing the horses for the big days is what I really enjoy more than anything now.