By News Team
22nd December 2020
Our ambassador Sam Twiston-Davies looks forward to the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, when his big-race ride will be last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux…
First of all, it’s nice to be at Kempton on Boxing Day. Christmas is great but, when you’ve got rides at Kempton, it makes it even more exciting.
When we were growing up, we loved everything about Christmas but once we opened our presents and got that lunch out of the way there’s only one thing we’re thinking about and that’s the runners the next day.
I’m lucky to have been born into a racing family. We were always thinking was dad going to have a winner here, there, or wherever? Then jumping in the car to go Boxing Day racing to watch Imperial Commander and the rest.
To now be there riding with a chance is the stuff you dream about when you’re young.
Clan winged every fence last year
Last year Harry Cobden had the choice between Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux, who he had won the King George on the previous year.
That’s always a tricky situation. With Cyrname being the highest-rated horse in the country – and the handicappers know their stuff in and out – it adds an extra variable to it all.
I was delighted to get the ride and for it all to go as smoothly as it did was a dream come true.
I rode him to win over hurdles at Newbury on his first run since moving from France and it seemed like he won by half the length of the straight.
It’s quite easy to get excited when one wins as easily as he did that day and to now see him doing it at the top level is fantastic.
To get him from that stage to where he is now shows how Paul’s [Nicholls] system works.
Before we won last year I’d watched Clan very closely in the race from the year before and spoke to Harry. We talked about tactics and what might happen.
Harry was brilliant as he told me everything I needed to know about my lad but he didn’t actually tell me much about Cyrname.
Clan was fantastic. He jumped, he travelled, and he winged every fence down the back. Then, when I asked him to pick up, he winged the second-last and off he went. The rest is history.
Clan coming back stronger in 2020
I rode him again on his first start of this season at Haydock when it was very soft ground. He jumped beautifully, travelled great and he felt like he was coming there to win the race.
Something I’d say is that the heavy ground at Haydock suited Bristol de Mai. That race is his Kempton so I take a lot of positives out of that race for Clan.
He has his own kind of way of jumping – you leave him to it and he is very good. He’s very economical, efficient and, at the same time, he has plenty of scope.
I guess he’s grown up and, physically, he’s probably a little bit stronger this year hence he can deal with heavy ground better than he used to. You could say he’s more complete now.
I went to see him in the week and I’m looking forward to Kempton. From a jockey’s point of view, it’s just about trying your best and enjoying it.
I just hope he can do something similar to last year. That would be nice. Between now and Boxing Day it’s just a case of holding on tight, that’s the long and short of it!