SILVINIACO CONTI (FR)
- 7 ch g Dom Alco (FR) – Gazelle Lulu (FR) (Altayan)
- Form: 11/11134/31241–111
- Owner: Chris Giles & Potensis Limited
- Breeder: Patrick Joubert
Ditcheat's leading contender for Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup honours in 2013.
Two from two over hurdles in France for Guillaume Macaire, he won a brace of Grade Two hurdles after joining Paul Nicholls in 2010 before being sent chasing last season, when he was successful in Grade Two events at Wincanton and Aintree.
Began the current campaign by taking the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3 before registering the first Grade One victory of his career in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on November 24, defeating Long Run by two and a half lengths. Warmed up for The Festival by winning the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on 9 February.
Jump Race Record: Starts:15 ; Wins: 10; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £376,524
Won the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase over three miles by seven lengths from The Giant Bolster at Newbury (soft) on 9 February.
Entries at The Festival (Distance – Value)
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup 3m 2f 110y– £550,000
Paul Nicholls said: "He has done incredibly well this season. He got beat at Ascot last season and was not right when the horses were coughing. We thought we were not going to Cheltenham with him and went to Aintree instead. He won nicely.
"This year he won the Charlie Hall, the Betfair Chase from Long Run and then the other day he had his prep race at Newbury which he won nicely. We had left plenty to work on and the ground was testing – I was nervous that he was going to get a bit tired but he stayed on strongly.
"He jumps well and I keep reading that he cannot win at Cheltenham because he has not won at Cheltenham. We have not avoided Cheltenham with him. He ran in The International over hurdles and ran incredibly well for a three-mile horse against a lot of two-milers. He missed the RSA last year and was never going to run in the Argento. He has been around loads of different tracks on different ground. I have always thought he wanted good ground but he has coped well with soft ground this season.
"You can ride him any way you like. We did not plan to make the running in the Betfair Chase at Haydock but Long Run did not want to go on. Ruby decided at the start to bowl along in front. He would be suited by a real fast end-to-end gallop where he can sit in third or fourth and use his jumping and hopefully stay on strongly.
"He has progressed nicely, done everything right and come out of Newbury well. He was fresh and well this morning. My view is that the three novices from last season – Bob's Worth, Silviniaco Conti and Sir Des Champs might be the three – Long Run obviously you can never rule out because he has been such a good horse. Any Gold Cup is hard to win but we think we are going there with a nice chance. He is workmanlike and does the job right – we have a chance of winning."