Rhys Williams has analysed the Grade 1s on the opening day at Aintree and has one selection in the Betway Bowl.
"For a long time I've thought that Clan Des Obeaux needed headgear and he finally has cheekpieces applied today for the first time."
Cheekpieces to spark return to best
The Betway Bowl brings together a group of horses with questions to answer. Can Clondaw Castle make the step up to Grade 1 company? Can Mister Fisher stay the trip and put a poor run at Cheltenham behind him? Will a gruelling race at Cheltenham have left its mark on Native River and is he quick enough? Can Tiger Roll run to anywhere close to his rating over regulation fences? Can Waiting Patiently stay a truly-run 3m1f? And can Clan Des Obeaux bounce back from defeat at Newbury?
Of those questions, I think the last of them is the one that can most confidently be answered in a positive way. While it was a bit disappointing that Clan Des Obeaux was beaten by Secret Investor, he still ran very well. He travelled strongly to join that rival at 3 out but was slightly awkward jumping the fence. Shaken up after, he continued to press that rival all the way to the line but couldn't get past and was beaten a neck.
When finishing behind Waiting Patiently in the King George, I thought being held up in a steadily-run race played against him and his jumping suffered slightly too. The steady pace certainly did suit Waiting Patiently as he was able to use the speed that's made him competitive in 2m Grade 1s to close on Frodon late on.
For a long time I've thought that Clan Des Obeaux needed headgear and he finally has cheekpieces applied today for the first time. This should not only sharpen him up the middle part of the race but also help him significantly in the closing stages. I think he's not always looked the most willing to go past, even when eventually winning races, and the headgear could help him on that front.
In a race where there are doubts over all of the runners, I think he's the most likely to run his race and has a class edge over most of the opposition so any 5/2 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021