CLAN DES OBEAUX can maintain his unbeaten record and strengthen Triumph Hurdle claims in a fascinating opener, primarily due to the presence of two French imports making debuts for the Henderson team. However, the selection looked a class act when cruising home on debut for the champion trainer, making a deep impression and sets a tough standard. Nicky Henderson has a good line to juvenile form so it will be intriguing to see how the market deals with Consul De Thaix and Protek Des Flos, both having shown promise on sole French outings. The fact that both are plunged in at this level first time up is significant and both are respected. Who Dares Wins, Wolf Of Windlesham and Duke Of Medina are all useful but all three now face the acid test.
Who Dares Wins (IRE) 3-1 (11-2) Tracked leader, led before 4 out, clear before last, kept on well, won at Doncaster 2m 1f (1) hvy in Dec beating Robertstown (10-12) by 20l, 6 ran.
Wolf Of Windlesham (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Held up, not fluent 3rd or 4th, headway on outside 3 out, went 2nd next, led before last, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m (1) gs in Nov beating Coo Star Sivola (10-12) by 1/2l, 5 ran.
Clan Des Obeaux (FR) 2-1 (10-12) Tracked leading pair, 2nd 4 out, led 3 out, joined 2 out, in command when last, stayed on strongly and came easily clear run-in, pushed out, won at Newbury 2m (4) sft in Dec beating Jaleo (11-5) by 21l, 8 ran.
Duke Of Medina (IRE) 8-1 (11-4) Led, not always fluent, clear 2nd until 3rd, kicked clear again after 3 out, still 4 lengths ahead flat, caught close home, 2nd of 7, 1/2l behind Gibralfaro (10-12) at Kempton 2m (3) gs in Dec.
Consul De Thaix (FR) (10-5) 2nd of 14, 1/2l behind Crin Au Vent (10-5) at Auteuil 2m 2f sft in Sep.
Protek Des Flos (FR) 20-1 (10-5) 2nd of 10, 8l behind Polkarenix (10-10) at Auteuil 2m 2f lst sft in Sep.