Nicholls sees some Kauto similarities in Politologue
Paul Nicholls believes Politologue can provide him with a 10th victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
It is 21 years since the Ditcheat maestro first claimed the St Stephen's Day highlight with dual winner Sea More Business.
Almost a decade later the one and only Kauto Star secured the first of his five triumphs in the race, while Silviniaco Conti won back-to-back renewals in 2013 and 2014.
Politologue has won eight times over fences, including top-level successes in the Tingle Creek at Sandown and the Melling Chase at Aintree.
He made a fine start to the current campaign when narrowly beating subsequent Peterborough Chase winner Charbel in a Grade Two at Ascot - but the big question ahead of his latest assignment is whether his stamina will last out over three miles.
Nicholls said: "Politologue is well. There are question marks, as he has not been over three miles, but he has been two-mile-five on stiff tracks.
"Kauto Star - who won five King Georges - had the same sort of profile, running in Haldon Gold Cups and running over two-and-a-half. Kauto Star ended up getting three miles and I'm hoping Politologue will as well.
"I'm happy with him, I think he's got a great chance and I think he will stay. I'm not going to say he'll stay three-and-a-quarter miles at Cheltenham, but if he is going to stay three miles, it will be at Kempton.
Quick "They always go quick in the King George, which will suit him, and it will just be a case of seeing how good he really is."
Nicholls has a second string to his bow in Clan Des Obeaux, which was last seen finishing fourth in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
"I'm happy with Clan Des Obeaux and we know he stays," the trainer added. "It was a mighty run from him at Haydock. It was like going from the Championship to the Premier League in his first the game and getting used to competing in the Premier League.
"If he can improve we will be in with a shout."
The likely favourite is last year's winner Might Bite. The Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old has something to prove after finishing a disappointing last of five in the Betfair Chase, having seemingly become unnerved by the stiff Haydock fences.
Henderson said: "He landed on the top of the second fence at Haydock and from there on he never got into his rhythm at all.
"In the King George last year and in the Gold Cup, he got into that rhythm where he jumps and it flows and it's all easy. Haydock is a different racecourse these days and it found him out.
"I thought he was fit going there - his work had been absolutely excellent - but it just didn't happen on the day. We can't do anything about it and he came back fit and well and healthy. I think we just have to ignore it.
"He was very good in the Feltham until he fell at the last and he was very good in the King George last year, so we think he likes Kempton."
If the King George was run at Haydock, dual Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai would surely be a warm order. He disappointed on this day last year, but trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies thinks it could be a different story 12 months on.
He said: "He proved them all wrong at Haydock, so let's hope he can do so again."