(2.7 minutes read)
It’s probably premature to dare mention comparisons with the Denman and Kauto Star rivalry from 15 years back.
However, this year’s renewal of the Boxing Day Grade One stayer’s chase blockbuster features another developing rivalry at the Paul Nicholl’s stable.
Clan Des Obeaux holds the advantage in the context of the Kempton 3 mile classic, claiming 2 wins over Frodon’s remarkable victory last year.
Nevertheless, the tenacity and versatility of Bryony Frost’s cherished mount is not to be underestimated in what could be an epic clash between the two.
Throw in the current Cheltenham Gold Cup champion, Minella Indo, a resurgent Lostintranslation and you surely have a race to savour. We’ll assess the chances of these leading fancies and check out the best bets from our partner firms.
CLAN DES OBEAUX
Bypassing the Betfair Chase at Haydock may have surprised a few observers.
However, Paul Nicholls was keen to avoid a hard race for his dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux, on the basis that his relatively poor run in last year’s renewal was possibly attributed to the hard fought second behind Bristol De Mai in that preceeding Betfair Chase.
He certainly made up for this in the spring with two sensational victories in the Betway Bowl and more impressively, the Punchestown Gold Cup, where he saw off the likes of Al Boum Photo and Kemboy to bring some much needed British cheer after the Irish demolition at The Cheltenham Festival.
He has every chance of taking a third King George providing he can run well fresh but more crucially, he will need to reel in a very confident and tenacious Frodon who arguably ran a career best last time in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in October.
A justified favourite at 11/4 with bet365, William Hill, Coral and Boylesports.
Similar to Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon is not a fan of the Gold Cup trip but he can be deadly just about anywhere else.
Last year’s win where he made all under a determined Bryony Frost was thrilling: he clearly is suited to the flat easy 3 miles where he can bowl along and set the kind of pressure pace that slower rivals detest.
Bryony Frost is riding out of her skin at the moment after the BHA hearings involving fellow jockey Robbie Dunne wrapped up last week in her favour, no doubt taking a lot of pressure off her shoulders.
Frodon’s form is by far the best in the field, having run arguably a career best at Down Royal earlier in the season, outstaying Minella Indo and rising star Galvin in impressive style.
He is our selection this year and remains fairly good value at 5/1 best with Coral.
The Henry De Bromhead trained Cheltenham Gold Cup hero is certainly gaining a reputation of Cheltenham specialist. However, his ability is slightly questionable on other tracks.
He ran creditably enough behind Frodon in the Down Royal race and will no doubt come on for that run and he has been well backed in recent days.
However, I’m just not sure if this is his kind of track and a greater test of stamina in more testing conditions might be more his game.
But his A game is one to fear no doubt. 11/4 best with bet365, Bet Victor, Betfred and Boylesports.
Possibly wise not to get overly excited by his long awaited comeback victory in the 1965 Chase at Ascot recently.
This is a quirky horse whereby reliability and consistency are not always apparent with this Joe Tizzard trained stayer.
Unlikely to cope with the business end pace needed to deal with Frodon’s front-running tactics but Lostintranslation does have class on his day and is possible each way value at 10/1 with bet365, William Hill and Coral
Reputation could possibly be regarded as a bit lofty after Chantry House’s slightly fortuitous win in the Marsh Novices Chase at the Festival, capitlaising on Envoi Allen’s demise.
Nevertheless he followed up well at Aintree in the big novice chase there whilst his one run this season will have him primed for this.
Progressive type, this race is probably a bit too hot for him but worth observing for more improvement. 11/2 best with bet365 and William Hill.
BEST OUTSIDER BET
Dashel Drasher represents the Skeltons and despite the mammoth odds on offer (66/1 bet365) he does like to front run on a right handed track. Might give Frodon something to think about and the stable is bang in form as usual.
Frodon gets the nod to win back to back King Georges over some tough rivals with a bit of each way fun on Dashiel Drasher to give Frodon some front running food for thought.
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (4pm 24th December 2021) and are subject to change.