Christmas delivered the best possible presents this year with Clan Des Obeaux winning an eleventh King George VI Chase on Boxing Day for the yard followed quickly by news of my award of an OBE for services to racing.
I am hugely proud of the honour which could not have happened without the tremendous support and hard work of Team Ditcheat who have backed me all the way.
I was also delighted to hear that Nicky Henderson,too, has received an OBE. No one deserves it more.
One way and another there has been plenty of celebrating these past few days. It was brilliant to see Clan Des Obeaux record back to back victories in the King George and even better that we were also responsible for the runner up Cyrname.
It wasn’t an easy call for Harry Cobden choosing between them because they are both high class horses though, for what its worth, I thought he was probably on the right one. There will be plenty of other big days for Harry and I’m chuffed to bits for Sam Twiston-Davies who rode Clan so well and comes in to school once a week.
While both horses were in top order going to Kempton from an early stage of the race it seemed to me that Cyrname was a bit flat and didn’t have his normal zest.
Harry had to niggle him a couple of times and maybe the horse could have had an off day or possibly he hadn’t quite got over his race at Ascot where be beat Altior. Even so he still finished a respectable second.
The more it rained on the day the more I felt that it would suit Clan who had come on in leaps and bounds from his run at Down Royal when most of ours were just needing their first outings.
While nothing is settled we are thinking of taking him straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. He didn’t quite get the trip in the race on very soft ground last March but he is stronger and better this season, turns eight on January 1 and we know he goes well fresh so he can have a nice little holiday now before we start training him for Cheltenham.
He is still improving and there is no reason why he can’t be attempting the hat-trick in the King George next Christmas.
Cyrname was a bit stiff for a couple of days but is fine now and I’d imagine he will be again be going for the Betfair Ascot Chase which he won in breathtaking style in February.
Earlier at Kempton Master TommyTucker was still going going strongly in the lead when he came down at the 15th fence in the Kauto Star Chase. There will be other days for this smart novice who has only run a handful of times.
A day’s hunting the previous week may well have helped Worthy Farm bounce back to form on Boxing Day at Wincanton.
The next afternoon it was good to see Truckers Lodge and Yala Enki finish second and third to Potters Corner in the Coral Welsh National. Both ran right up to their best form in conditions that suited them well and they will continue to be serious players in staying chases.
Miranda then completed a great two days for the yard with an easy success in the final race at Kempton on December 27.
Plenty of others ran well over the holiday, too, and it’s pleasing to see the team in such good form as the New Year beckons.
We have plenty of runners this week starting at Taunton today, Cheltenham and Exeter on January 1 and then Sandown on Saturday.
Please be sure to check up on the latest news on all my Saturday runners by turning to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.