Hat-trick for Bristol de Mai but how will Clan Des Obeaux fare at Kempton?

Bristol De Mai – relentless & remorseless in the Betfair Chase 🏇 34 races🥇 11 wins🏆🏆🏆 @Betfair Chase⭐️…
man riding horse

Bristol de Mai secured a memorable treble at the weekend, winning the Lancashire Chase at Haydock by two lengths. The Nigel Twiston-Davies gelding was sent out at odds of 9/4, alongside Clan Des Obeaux, but jockey Daryl Jacob rode a good race. Lostintranslation, the favourite in the betting exchange and the winner of last year’s Chase, could only finish in third – and the plaudits were rightly with all those connected to Bristol de Mai.

It was like the grey was stung by that very defeat in last year’s race, in which his unbeaten record at Haydock came to an end, at the hands of Lostintranslation. The Twiston-Davies trained horse was famously the joint-favourite, but fell one-and-a-half lengths short – and ultimately, was unable to secure the hat-trick there and then. 

But 2020 has been a strange year, full of changes to the racing calendar, as well as restrictive measures that have since been enforced on race day – and to return to the track after a break of 253 days to secure another Group 1 title is a remarkable achievement, and one that all those connected with Bristol de Mai can be proud of.

After the race, Jacob told ITV: “He’s a wonderful horse, he really is. This win is very special,

“You need horses like this to bring out the good days,” before finishing: “I never write him off – he’s done wonders for my career.”

In winning his third Lancashire Chase on Merseyside, Bristol de Mai joins Kauto Star and Cue Card in the history books, while the former holds the record for the most victories in the race, winning on four occasions between 2006 and 2011. It takes a very special horse to regain a crown, having lost it – and prior to that defeat in 2019, Bristol de Mai’s name was synonymous with Haydock. The grey’s record stands at five wins in six starts, while this most recent win takes Twiston-Davies’ tally to four victories in the Chase, all of which have come in the last decade.

But while, rightly, all the talk was on the victor, focus now turns to the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, at Kempton. Among the early favourites for the festive centrepiece are Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation, and the bay from Paul Nicholls’ yard will be looking to replicate that same feat of three wins – having been victorious in the last two editions of the King George VI Chase.

Despite defeat at the weekend, Nicholls still fancies his chances, and after the Lancashire Chase, he told the Racing Post: “Clan ran well and it’s just a shame it rained at Haydock,

“He was beaten by a real good warrior on that track and ground. I think he just didn’t quite stay that last little bit on the heavy ground, but he’s probably run as good a race as he’s run for a long time in the circumstances and a very good King George trial.”

Clan will be up against stablemate, Cyrname who is also one of the front-runners for that Boxing Day battle. The gelding was the favourite in last year’s race, but was beaten comfortably by 21 lengths. It will be interesting to see what Nicholls’ plan is heading into the Chase. Will defeat at Haydock impact Clan Des Obeaux’s challenge for that hat-trick of crowns at Kempton, or will we go on to see a three-time winner of the King George in what has been a strange, but memorable year?

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