The superb success of Clan Des Obeaux in the Punchestown Gold Cup showed that he is as at the peak of his powers at the age of nine.
He was brilliant at Aintree but faced tougher opposition on Tuesday and had to dig deeper than he has ever done before to see of the persistent challenge of the dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.
That was the third time I’ve won the race and it was brilliant to watch, fully justifying our decision to sidestep Cheltenham and keep him for a late spring campaign. We’ve learned that he doesn’t like Cheltenham and so he will not be going there again.
I was keen on Punchestown for Clan if the ground stayed decent and told Sam Twiston-Davies to be positive from the start. They were always handy, led from the sixth fence and kept pulling out more during a sustained duel with the runner up in the closing stages. I thought Sam gave him a great ride at a course which plays to his strengths and Clan returned home right as rain, in A1 condition. We probably won’t run him again until the King George V1 at Kempton which he has already won twice. Then it will be on to Newbury, Aintree and Punchestown.
There was a further boost for the yard when David Maxwell rode his own horse Bob and Co to a famous victory in the valuable Champion Hunter Chase at Punchestown on Friday.
I was thrilled for David who puts so much into our sport, is a proper amateur, has had some nasty injuries and came out best in the tightest possible finish against Billaway ridden by Patrick Mullins who is the most professional of amateur jockeys with hundreds of winners to his credit.
David deserves every success that comes his way because he puts so much time and energy into his riding, loves what he does, gets a lot of stick and keeps bouncing back with a smile on his face. I was so proud of him on Bob and Co and shouted them home as if my life depended on the result. It was wonderful to watch.
Friend Or Foe kept up the great form of the yard by providing our first success of the new season with a fluent victory in the Beginners’ Chase at Uttoxeter on Saturday.
We had two more winners at Kempton on Monday but most of our horses are off on their holidays now and we will be quiet as usual over the summer. If we manage twelve winners by the end of September I will be delighted.
Then we will start getting busy again with the focus on Chepstow’s two day meeting early in October.