Nicholls Brushes Silviniaco Conti Criticism
Paul Nicholls has responded to critics of Silviniaco Conti who have questioned the seven-year-olds ability to handle the Cheltenham track.
Nicholls said the son of Dom Alco will not be fazed by the famous track and believes he is good enough to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“I keep reading that he can’t win at Cheltenham because he hasn’t won at Cheltenham but we haven’t avoided Cheltenham,” Nicholls said.
“He ran in the International Hurdle and for a three-mile horse against two-milers ran incredibly well.”
Silviniaco Conti has been flawless since returning to the races at the end of last year.
He won the Charlie Hall Chase by eleven lengths, defeated Long Run and The Giant Bolster in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase before scoring by seven lengths in the Grade 2 Denman Chase.
Nicholls said the gelding was set for these races before the season began and their simply wasn’t a lead-up race at Cheltenham that was suitable.
“There has never been a chase for him at Cheltenham when we’ve wanted to run as he missed the RSA and was never going to run in the Argento,” Nicholls said.
“He has been around loads of different tracks and all sorts of ground.”
Silviniaco Conti is on the third line of the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting market at Bet365 behind Bobs Worth and Sir Des Champs – horses Nicholls believes are the biggest threat to his equine superstar.
“My view is that the three second-season chasers Bobs Worth, Sir Des Champs and Conti might be the three, although you can never rule out Long Run,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls said he believes the pace of the race could decide the winner but is hoping Silviniaco Conti’s jumping ability will get him home.
“He would be suited by a real fast end-to-end gallop where he can sit in third or fourth, use his jumping and then stay on strongly,” Nicholls said.
“We’re not going there thinking we are going to win but we think we’ve got a nice chance.”
You can get the best Cheltenham Gold Cup odds at Bet365.