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Will Clan Des Obeaux Win the King George VI Chase Again?

Will Clan Des Obeaux Win the King George VI Chase Again?

As one of the most successful National Hunt trainers in British horse racing, Paul Nicholls has a long and successful affinity with the King George VI Chase, held annually at Kempton Park since 1937. Already having set the standard with the most winning horses at this event, he will be aiming for an 11th triumph at this classic Grade one steeplechase on Boxing Day, 26 December.

After Nicholls trained his first winner at the King George VI Chase in 1997 with See More Business, the same horse triumphed again in 1999. The next victories at this classic racing event came with Kauto Star and ridden by Ruby Star, who won on four consecutive occasions between 2006 and 2009. This magnificent horse and jockey combination not only matched legendary Desert Orchid for total wins, they returned in 2011 as the 11-year-old set a new record with a fifth victory.

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The success continued in 2013 and 2014 as Silviniaco Conti won back to back races, then in 2018, the 10th King George VI Chase winner came for Nicholls. Despite being the youngest horse competing in the race and amongst a hugely competitive field that included 2016 winner Thistlecrack, 6-year-old Clan des Obeaux romped home with Harry Cobden jockeying and finished over a length ahead of his rivals.

Repeat victory?

Returning to defend his title and ridden again, Clan des Obeaux will undoubtedly be the focus of attention ahead of starters orders. That said, as punters compare the latest odds, especially those using a betting calculator to see which stakes offer the best value returns, they might be surprised to find that last year’s winner isn’t the favourite to triumph at the 2019 King George VI Chase. Let’s take a look at the three leading contenders Clan des Obeaux will face.


Boasting a lifetime record of 14 chase wins out of 15 races, Altior heads into the King George VI Chase as a genuine contender and was the favourite for the Boxing Day race at Kempton. However, that all changed when the one race he didn’t win was on 23rd November at Ascot, finishing second in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase behind Cyrname, who was comfortably over 2 lengths ahead at the finishing post. Interestingly and due to that outcome, trainer Nicky Henderson yet to finally decide if Altior will race over three miles at the Kempton showpiece.


While there would obviously be delight for Paul Nicholls if Clan des Obeaux can win the King George VI Chase again, he is also the trainer of Cyrname and as mentioned above, this is the horse that ended the unbeaten chase record of Altior. Harry Cobden was the jockey for that winning run at Ascot for Cyrname and having ridden Clan des Obeaux to victory at Kempton on Boxing Day last year, he now faces an interesting dilemma. “I will ride the one I think will have the best chance,” he told Racing TV recently. It’s certainly a tough choice, between last year’s King George winner and the best-priced 5/2 favourite with many of the leading bookmakers.


Colin Tizzard has already trained two previous King George VI Chase winners, with Cue Card in 2015 and Thistlecrack in 2016. The latter will be going again at Kempton this year, although the best option for victory for Tizzard would appear to be Lostintranslation, who is now considered amongst the favorites after two superb runs in November, both on right-hand tracks at Haydock and Carlisle. These wins came after a break of 212 days, following a strong finish to win the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree.

Choosing the winner

Given such a strong field of horses competing at the 2019 King George VI Chase, picking which will be the winner is a hugely difficult challenge. Any one of the three we’ve looked at could win, as could Clan des Obeaux again. However, a mixture of recent form and races against direct rivals would suggest that Cyrname has the best possibilities, meaning that trainer Paul Nicholls might be cracking the champagne open for a second year running, either way.

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