Classy Clan wins Newbury clash
Clan Des Obeaux looked every inch a top-class performer in the making when he ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Fuller's London Pride Novices' Chase at Newbury.
Clan Des Obeaux stepped up significantly from his chase debut
The Grade Two contest, registered as the Berkshire Novices' Chase, has an illustrious roll of honour, with subsequent Gold Cup heroes Denman (2006), Bobs Worth (2011) and Coneygree (2014) among the previous winners.
A small but select field of five runners went to post for the latest renewal, with Clan Des Obeaux a 5/2 chance after finishing fourth on his chasing debut at Chepstow last month.
Our Kaempfer took the field along for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey and remained at the head of affairs rounding the home turn.
However, the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux loomed up ominously in the straight and readily pulled clear once given his head by Sean Bowen.
A huge leap at the final fence sealed a 10-length success, with Virgilio coming through to beat Our Kaempfer to the runner-up spot.
Nicholls said: "We knew he was good, Chepstow was only his fourth run over obstacles. He's improved enormously and he's really something to look forward to.
"We'll mind him, I've no big targets but one day he could be very smart."
"He has got a big future. He jumps brilliantly. He takes your breath away jumping and if you have got a horse that jumps a fence like that they are going to go places. Sean just said that is the best horse he has ever sat on."
Paul Nicholls on Clan Des Obeaux
The champion trainer nominated the Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day as a possible destination for his charge.
He said: "He jumped and galloped and this track suits him. Judging by that, he has got a big future. He won well here over hurdles last season.
"At the end of the day he is only four and we've got to be careful to look after him as this is not his season – he will be better at five and six.
"He wants two and a half miles and possibly further. He jumps brilliantly. He takes your breath away jumping and if you have got a horse that jumps a fence like that they are going to go places.
"Sean (Bowen, jockey) just said that is the best horse he has ever sat on. I might look at the Dipper as that might suit him."
Bowen said: "I haven't ridden for long, but in the time I've been riding I've never had a novice jump and travel around there like that.
"As soon as I gave him a kick two out, he's just sprinted and I nearly had to take a pull because we had another jump to go.
"He's a very nice horse and very exciting. Paul has always liked him and always thought he's definitely one for the future.
"I was very impressed."
Protek Des Flos failed to fire in fourth, but undoubtedly the biggest disappointment was One Track Mind.
Making his chasing debut, having won the Grade One Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown in the spring, Warren Greatrex's 15/8 favourite made a bad mistake at the first fence and never recovered, eventually coming home last of the five runners.
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