Take a Flyer on Mullins’ Tornado in King George

Those who are ever-so-vocal in their opposition to trainers keeping top-class racehorses at home when they should be doing what they believe it says on the tin – racing their horses – will be having a right old sulk if Clan Des Obeaux wins his third King George on Boxing Day.

Of course, nobody will say a word to Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls, and nor should they given he rarely fights shy of a scrap with his charges but we are undoubtedly in an age where we have to cherish every occasion when we see the sport’s stars, although the unseasonably dry spell since November has hardly helped, admittedly.

Bold move from Nicholls

We have yet to see the likes of Al Boum Photo, Shishkin and Appreciate It this term, and I imagine we are looking at maybe two runs maximum for the likes of A Plus Tard and Allaho before Cheltenham as well – while the Stayers’ Hurdle favourite Klassical Dream has been on the missing list more times than Alan Brazil on a Cheltenham Talksport show – so it is a ballsy move for Nicholls to purposely hold back his 2018 and 2019 King George winner for this, when even the most minor of niggles close to the race could scupper the long-term plan.

It has been well documented why he has come straight here with Clan Des Obeaux, in that he believed his horse left his hat-trick bid behind him last year by having a lung-burster in heavy ground in the Betfair Chase just over a month beforehand. And he clearly was well below his best when only third to his stablemate Frodon afterwards.

Clan des Obeaux leading side shot 1280.jpg

But I haven’t heard many people state the bleedin’ obvious.

Namely, that Clan Des Obeaux ain’t great first time up.

Now, I know Nicholls has few peers when readying one when he has laid a plan months beforehand and he will rev them up accordingly up the Ditcheat hill – we saw that when Frodon turned away the powerful home team at Down Royal on his return – and his horse showed he has the necessary class to win this when beating Al Boum Photo on his home patch at Punchestown in April.

But let’s have a look at that reappearance form of Clan Des Obeaux.

Since winning on his debut for Nicholls in 2015, his return record is nil from five.

And his record after mid-season breaks of 57 days or more is also nil from three, though admittedly I craftily missed his 2019 romp here after 54 days off the track by upping the search criteria by an extra 72 hours.

Not on purposely, obviously….

Like I said, it may not be relevant at all, given Nicholls’ fine-tuning mastery, but it would play on my mind if backing for him on his first start since April 28 – though he certainly isn’t a bad price at 4.216/5 on the Exchange – and where he has precious little in hand form-wise, if anything.

In fact, he clearly isn’t the form horse in here, as that title goes to Minella Indo, conqueror of runaway Betfair Chase winner A Plus Tard and Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup.

You’d expect him to come on for his reappearance five-length third to Frodon on his return at Down Royal but he certainly needs to and, for all that Cheltenham victory sets the bar in here, it is certainly the stand-out performance on his CV by some way. Again, he is a fair price at 4.84/1 without saying “come and back me”.

Forecast rain could scupper good ground

Before we come on to a horse with plenty of premier waltzes on his dance card, it was remiss of me not to mention the ground at the start of this piece.

It is currently good (good to soft) in places but what makes life tough for ante-post punters is that there is a fair bit of rain due from the 24th to 26th, with plenty coming on Boxing Day it seems The BHA site says 10-15mm, and that pretty much tallies with the weather sites I use, if a little on the low side.

So, if that materialises, and we get good to soft or soft ground, then I don’t think many, if any, of these will be too disadvantaged.

Frodon has a body and depth of work that is arguably the most impressive in here, for all he lacks that premier, high-end Grade 1 effort of the front two in the betting, but last year’s winner is probably the one I like most of those towards the top of the market at around 11/2 on the Exchange. It isn’t hard to see him getting the lead once again, even if the outsider Dashel Drasher runs.

Frodon and Frost win KG2020 1280.jpg

At the current odds, I am no particular fan of Lostintranslation or Chantry House or the talented but clumsy Asterion Forlonge – I simply cannot have Chantry House as being the same price as Frodon, and I’d love an evens match bet there – so the two that interest me most at the prices are Mister Fisher and Tornado Flyer.

Pair can outrun their odds

Rather like Saint Calvados, fourth in this race last season and now making his debut for Nicholls, both have their stamina to prove, but in addition that pair throw some occasional, indifferent jumping into the mix.

Hardly ideal I know, but I can see both outrunning their odds here if their fencing stands up to close inspection, as I do think 3m around here is in their compass trip-wise.

Mister Fisher is only 7yo and ran Frodon to a neck at Sandown over an extended 2m6f on good ground on his most recent start, but the 40s about him went on Monday (now 25s) and Tornado Flyer is my 33/1 each way bet, three places, with the Betfair Sportsbook.

I would make him a bet at 25/1 or bigger, no less, if and when that 33s goes. No lower.

He currently still has the option of the Savills at home over Christmas but I am told the intention is to to travel (though I am not sure who will ride if so, but that never bothers me).

The only time he has raced over 3m before was actually in last year’s Savills, when a 37-length 5th, but that told us very little as he never got competitive at any stage.

But he shaped like this trip was well worth trying when staying on into third in the Ryanair in March – he came from miles off the pace there – and while we couldn’t see any of the race in the fog, his length second to Min on heavy ground in the John Durkan puts him on the coat-tails form-wise (well, at a charitable push anyway).

And he again shaped more like a stayer when a 2m4f horse when fifth in this season’s John Durkan on his return, a race in which he wasn’t given that hard a time of it at all.

I am banking on the step up to 3m improving him, while the current ground is in his favour as regards putting the emphasis less on stamina here.

Like I said, I don’t know if he is a definite runner, and we all know Willie can change his mind at the last minute anyway, but he is worth a small each-way interest as it stands

Good luck.

Author: wpadmin

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