New headgear makes this horse the Paul Nicholls Aintree banker

Clan Des Obeaux winning the King George at Kempton

We’re going to be treated to a scintillating three days of action at Aintree this week! The Grand National Festival hosts eleven Grade 1 contests, including the Betway Bowl, Aintree Hurdle and the Liverpool Hurdle. The feature contest is, of course the Grand National, the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Paul Nicholls has assembled a strong team for Aintree this season. The Ditcheat-based trainer saddled the 2012 National winner, Neptune Collonges, and has two entries in 2021. Those are Yala Enki and Give Me A Copper, who will be bidding to out-run their prohibitive odds.

We’ll have Grand National tips, but you can’t have a banker of the week running in most competitive handicap of the season. Looking at Nicholls’ string, his banker of the meeting is set to run on the first day of the meeting. Read on to find out why this runner could be tough to beat.

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Headgear the key

The horse in question is Clan Des Obeaux, a dual King George winner who returned this season with a great second to Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase. That was on ground worse than he’d want, so it’s easy to upgrade that effort. Bidding for a third King George at Kempton subsequently, he finished third to stablemate Frodon, perhaps feeling the effects of that aforementioned Haydock run.

He’s been absent since February, where he was beaten a neck in the Denman Chase at Newbury. Conceding weight to most of his rivals, it was a disappointing performance, unable to pick up a stablemate rated seven pounds inferior. Looking a shade unfocused on the run-in, Nicholls will be reaching for headgear to sharpen him up at Aintree.

Speaking to At The Races, Nicholls said: “Clan Des Obeaux will run in the Betway Bowl and he is either going to run in some blinkers or cheekpieces – we will decide nearer the time“. About his temperament and the reason for the headgear, he continued to say: “I just think some cheekpieces or blinkers might just sharpen him up a bit, because the other day I thought he should have won at Newbury, but Secret Investor just out-battled him a little bit“.

Can he make amends in the Betway Bowl? There’s a very strong case to be made. He loves sharp tracks on better ground, so Aintree in the spring should be the ideal scenario for him. He’ll get a good pace to track, which will also suit, and on recent figures, he’s the one to beat.


Check out the myracing experts’ Aintree betting tips for every day of the festival, and don’t forget to check out the latest Grand National free bets to get a headstart on your festival punting.

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