MAKE the right decision Harry Cobden…and ride Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase.
For me, Paul Nicholls defending Kempton champion is without doubt the one to beat in the Ladbrokes Boxing Day feature. He is top-priced 5-1 with Coral.
But the question is, do we back him now, with Altiors participation far from certain, or later once jockey Cobden may have passed over my big hope in favour of ante-post market leader Cyrname?
Its a tricky one.
While Cobden, quite understandably, sits on the fence at the moment, most believe he will choose Britains highest rated chaser Cyrname over the horse he steered to a famous King George win 12 months ago.
After all, Nicholls, the champion trainer, has already said HE would ride Cyrname and, on official ratings with a BHA mark of 176, he has 7lb in hand of Clan Des Obeaux.
In my book Clan Des Obeaux is the one to beat, so my advice is have an each-way bet at the 5-1 and, if at any stage he is bigger than that, go in again!
The King George live on the main ITV network might well prove to be THE race of the jumps season, and for racing fans remains the most important part of Christmas.
As usual I will be at midnight carols on Christmas Eve simply to pray for the Clan I have always presumed the extra service was put on for racing fans to divulge in one last festive flutter prayer to those on high!
On ratings alone Cyrname is a worthy favourite, and Nicholls has talked about him in the same breath as five-time King George hero Kauto Star. Thats some statement.
However, there has to be a question mark over the distance and a serious chance of pace pressure for a horse who loves to front run and dominate.
Lostintranslation is a threat. He looks a star and was impressive when he beat Bristol De Mai at Haydock last time.
However, the handicapper still rates Lostintranslation 15lb inferior to Cyrname and 8lb less good than Clan Des Obeaux.
Of course they may well be wrong and jockey Robbie Power thinks the world of the gelding, but the Colin Tizzard raider still has one more big step to make to mix it with this lot.
As for Altior, well, like Cyrname, the Champion Chase hero has his second run after a wind operation should he take his chance. We should find out if he will over the weekend.
That said, Im not fussed if he does or not, as I simply dont see him as a danger to Clan Des Obeaux over this course and distance of three miles. So why do I love Clan Des Obeaux so much?
Well, first of all remember hes a great big seven-year-old who should still be improving.
After his King George success he went to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup and didnt quite get home in fifth behind Al Boum Photo.
He then chased home the brilliant Kemboy at Aintree and reliable Road To Respect at Down Royal first time this term.
I loved the way he jumped and travelled over in Northern Ireland, and I have no doubt he will come on bundles for the outing.
If Cobden ditched him there is a good chance Sean Bowen will end up on board and Id have no problem with that. There’s also a possibility our very own Sam Twiston-Davies could get the ride and that would be super cool.
However Id rather have Cobden so, come on Harry, make the right decision.
More immediately, the ante-post favourite for todays Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Ridersonthestorm was taken out of the race in error yesterday despite being declared at the forty-eight hour stage.
In a cock-up, Nigel Twiston-Daviess team withdrew the horse instead of Rocco, who they meant to take out at Bangor yesterday afternoon.
Apparently, they realised the error 30 seconds after the deadline cut-off but Weatherbys and the BHA refused to budge.
Rules are rules and deadlines are deadlines but it does seem harsh Ridersonthestorm could not be re-instateded.
The yards cat should certainly stay out of Niges way.