Jockey Harry Cobden has named Clan Des Obeaux, two-time King George winners, as his best chance of winning Aintree later this week in Merseyside.
The 10-year-old trained by Paul Nicholls disappointed last time out in the Denman Chase, finishing third after being beaten over a dozen lengths by yard Colin Tizzard’s Eldorado Allen.
But he was also beaten at that Newbury run in 2021, before demolishing the Betway Bowl ground in Aintree and then beating two-time Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo in Punchestown.
And while Cobden was disappointed with the run for Clan Des Obeaux – part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson – at Newbury last month, he is confident of a return to form at the Liverpool venue.
“I think he’s my best chance of the day on Thursday, if not my best chance of the week,” Cobden said. “He is doing very well there and he is in good form at home.
“Last year was similar, he was disappointing at Newbury but our horses were probably not running very well at this stage.
“He is definitely the class horse in the race and I would say he is the one to beat.”
“I wouldn’t trade Bravemansgame”
That’s quite the statement from the jockey retained by Nicholls, especially considering he’s also circling undefeated fighter Bravemansgame, who is set to take on Festival winner L’Homme Presse in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
He looks at Cobden’s choice of rides on Friday, with the bullish jockey suggesting he wouldn’t swap his mount for any in the race, including Venetia Williams’ two-time freshman winner.
“I have a good number of rides – five good Thursdays, four or five Fridays and four nice Saturdays so I’m very happy,” he added.
“He is in very good shape. Obviously we will have to beat the horse from Venetia (L’Homme Presse) who looks very good and a decent horse who won at Cheltenham on the last day.
“It’s a competitive race, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other.”
In the Grand National itself, Cobden will pilot Lostintranslation of Colin Tizzard, who started the season with a victory in the 1965 Chase at Ascot but has since struggled in competitive racing.
He did, however, finish a decent eighth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and recent training on the national fences gave Cobden hope for a big run.
“I’m excited to drive it,” he said. “I went to David Pipe last week and trained him on the national fences and he jumped really well.
“I guess the first half of the race is going to pick up a pace and try to win it in the second half.
“He should travel and knock on wood, he jumps well. [Colin] Tizzard is good at riding, he wouldn’t give me too many instructions.
“I guess it’s about staying on him and going around the first circuit and starting to think about the race when we go down for the last time.
“We want to have a good Aintree and I want to keep it [Paul Nicholls] and happy owners so a good Aintree would be great and put us in a good position for the final weeks of the season.”