Paul Nicholls Haydock Saturday Runners Preview Clan is hard fit for Betfair Chase bid

In-form Flic can feature here

Betfair Weighed In Podcast Novices’ Hurdle, 12:10
Flic Ou Voyou

Has been making hay in recent weeks, rattling up a hat-trick and was barely out of second gear when winning unchallenged at Wincanton a fortnight ago.

This is much more competitive but Flic Ou Voyou is high on confidence at the moment and I’m hopeful that his experience can pay off in this.

Tommytucker has a first-rate chance

Back and Lay on Betfair Graduation Chase, 13:15
Master Tommytucker

I was so pleased to see him win impressively at Huntingdon last time and it makes sense to give him another crack at this Graduation Chase before we raise our sights with him.

Master Tommytucker was undeniably frustrating last season when he twice ended up on the floor despite being basically a sound jumper.

He has done loads of schooling this season and, fingers crossed, seems to be going the right way now. I’d like to think he has a first-rate chance.

Hunter much improved after wind op

Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle, 14:25
Highland Hunter

He seems to have improved after a wind op over the summer and ran a blinder on his return to action at Ayr three weeks ago when I knew he would need the outing. Yet he was still second despite blowing up at the second last.

Highland Hunter finished in midfield in this race a year ago first time out but he is hard fit this time round after the run at Ayr, has a lovely, light racing weight and the softer the ground the better for him as he will keep galloping all day long.

I really fancy Clan for the win

The Betfair Chase, 15:00
Clan Des Obeaux

Time has marched on since we dipped our toe in the water with Clan Des Obeaux in this race two years ago. He wasn’t quite ready, got no credit for finishing a close fourth and then proceeded to win the King George five weeks later.

I’ve no hesitation in saying Clan is ready this time. He looks fantastic, stronger and hard fit, and enjoyed an away day with Politologue recently.

We are not using this as a warm-up for his hat-trick bid in the King George and there will be no excuses on the fitness front. Clan is a month further down the line compared to his first run of the season at Down Royal last year. He has had a lot of graft and I really fancy him.