Aintree Grand National Festival News: Clan Des Obeaux clinches Betway Bowl

Paul Nicholls was celebrating an Aintree win with Clan Des Obeaux after bypassing Cheltenham. It was back-to-back victories for Clan Des Obeaux in the Grade 1 on Merseyside.

Paul Nicholls showed he made the right decision in bypassing Cheltenham with Clan Des Obeaux after the ten-year-old took back-to-back Betway Bowl wins.

Clan Des Obeaux showed his staying power in the three miles, one furlong Grade 1 chase with a one length win over Gordon Elliott's Conflated.

Willie Mullins' Kemboy made most of the running in increasingly wet conditions at Aintree but it was Clan Des Obeaux who took over at the business end.

Sir Alex Ferguson has shares in both Protektorat and Clan Des Obeaux but while the Dan Skelton runner Protektorat could only finish fourth, Clan Des Obeaux scored at a decent price of 13/2.

Conflated went off a 9/2 chance with Kemboy 5/1 and both finished tired behind the relentless gallop of Clan Des Obeaux.

Don of Ditcheat Nicholls only sent a small string to Cheltenham but is throwing everything at Aintree and it paid off with his old warrior in front of the elder statesman football manager Ferguson.

Nicholls said: "You've to just keep changing things with the older horses, he didn't run quite as well as we thought he was going to do at Newbury but he was trained for today, not for Newbury and he's improved from then.

"We just tried to do something different with him, it's just sharpened him up so much. He was getting a bit idle, he's pricked his ears before the line there. When they get a bit older, he's 10, they know the routine, they get a bit lazy.

"I wasn't too despondent at Newbury, Harry was a little bit, but he always comes good in the spring. I'm delighted, things haven't gone as well as I'd have liked and I've been pulling my hair out since Christmas to be honest with you. To get him back looking like that is a team effort.

"He'll definitely go to Punchestown now, that was always the plan. He's had some hard battles over the years, particularly at Punchestown, and you just wonder if they're going to show that form again. He loved it round there, he had a great ride, jumped brilliant - it was perfect."

He added of the nervy finish: "He was always going to hang on, he pricked his ears a little bit. Harry will be chuffed with that and that was a big boost for us. It's a help, winners like that, but there's still plenty to go and there's Sandown still.

"It'll make it (title) interesting, anyway!"

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