It’s a Paul Nicholls horse that catches the eye this year with the unexposed and talented Clan des Obeaux available at 14/1.

Still only six-years-old, Nicholls has refrained from running this horse over three miles until now but it could unlock some serious improvement judging by the best of his efforts over trips around two-and-a-half miles.

He looked a horse of some potential over fences when he won a traditionally strong novice chase at Newbury on his second chase start, while he gave Vintage Clouds 7lb and a sound beating in a graduation chase at Haydock in late November.

Those wins, the most impressive of his career, came on flat, left-handed tracks and with that in mind Aintree could be perfect for him, while he won’t mind the softer conditions on this season’s evidence.

The last time he was seen, at Cheltenham in December’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, he ran a blinder off top weight in second, shaping like a stayer after being outpaced early on.

Nicholls reports he threw a splint earlier in the year which meant he missed Cheltenham, but that could be a blessing in disguise as he comes in here a fresh horse after 117 days off the track. Judging by his seasonal reappearance at Kempton, he’s perfectly capable of going well after a break.

Tip: Clan des Obeaux (14/1)

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