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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sefton's Avatar
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    Silviniaco Conti (FR) 2013 King George Winner

    Silviniaco Conti (FR)
    Age: 6 (Foaled April 14th, 2006)
    Sex: Chestnut Gelding
    Breeding: Dom Alco - Gazelle Lulu (Altayan)
    Trainer: P F Nicholls
    Owner: Mr Chris Giles & Potensis Limited

    Paul Nicholls September 2012

    We'll run him in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and then make a plan. He'll probably have an entry in the King George but he might be an ideal horse for Aintree in the spring and we'll give him plenty of time. He might be a Gold Cup contender in 2014 rather than 2013, as he could get stronger and more consistent.
    Last edited by Lester; 02-10-2014 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Old Vic's Avatar
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    Paul Nicholls will put Silviniaco Conti through his paces on Thursday morning before giving him the go-ahead to go for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.

    "As long as he works well on Thursday, he will go there," Nicholls told At The Races.

    "The plan has always been to run him. We'll look at the weather and see what Thursday morning brings. We want to go.

    "He's probably the only one we've got to run in those top three-mile races this year.

    "You've got to start somewhere and it's a good place

  3. #3
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    Another one with horse SAD according to Mordin

    SILVINIACO CONTI PROBABLY BEST MARCH TO NOVEMBER



    SILVINIACO CONTI (42) confirmed that he's now the top three mile chaser in Paul Nicholls' yard with an impressive win in the Charlie Hall Chase. He was always going well and cleared away with some ease in the closing stages. He clocked a time fast enough to give him a real shot in the Gold Cup, and it looked like he could have run a bit quicker if pressed.

    Most of the top chasers have an obvious set of preferences. And it does seem clear from Silviniaco Conti's form that he's not at his best in the darkest, coldest months. So far he has won eight times out of nine from March to November with his only loss being in a slow run race with a sprint finish - something he's shown he can't cope with a few times. He's lost all five times he's run from December to February.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Statto's Avatar
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    Before Charlie Hall...


    6-y-o; chestnut gelding
    Breeding: Dom Alco (FR) - Gazelle Lulu (FR)
    Trained by P F Nicholls
    Form: 4/31241-1

    He won five from his seven starts over hurdles and in the process acquired a mark of 154 at the end of his novice season over the smaller obstacles. He began his chasing career by finishing a well-beaten third behind Cue Card and Michael Flips at Chepstow in early October. Paul Nicholls had warned before the race that Silviniaco Conti would improve a lot for the run which certainly appears to be the case when comparing his current rating of 156 with those of the two horses that finished in front of him on the day.

    He followed this up a month later with a comprehensive defeat of the only other finisher Mad Moose in the Grade Two Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton. Silviniaco Conti now has about 20 pounds and more in hand of all of those rivals at Wincanton so, perhaps, had every right to win with something to spare. In his third chase he stepped up in class to contest the Grade 1 Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was clearly out speeded by the favourite Grands Crus before his stamina kicked in resulting in him closing the gap noticeably on the run in. The final circuit time of the race compared favourably with the King George Chase suggesting that Grands Crus and Silviniaco Conti should be close to the top of a narrow band of horses holding strong claims for the 2012 King George Chase.

    Silviniaco Conti dropped out tamely from the second last flight to finish a well beaten fourth at Ascot when trading as the 11/10 favourite for the Grade Two Reynoldstown Chase. Bobs Worth finished two places in front of him on the day and therefore comprehensively reversed the Feltham Chase form. I think we need to be careful with our reasoning when deciding whether or not to forgive an apparently below-par performance. More often than not horses will merely repeat the level of performance when faced with the same conditions and variables in future. However, in this case I think the fact that the Paul Nicholls’ stable had started the day on the back of a run of 11 losers in a row is significant evidence. Interestingly enough Silviniaco Conti had also flopped on the same weekend the previous year implying that this short period of time may just be the calm before the storm that is the Cheltenham Festival for the Nicholls’ runners.

    Paul Nicholls stated that he would prefer to avoid taking on Grands Crus again and, therefore, Silviniaco Conti did not race again until Aintree in April. He ran out an impressive winner of the Grade Two Mildmay Novices’ Chase contested over three miles and one furlong. It should be noted that the runner up Champion Court probably does not quite get home over this extended three mile trip, whilst the third horse, Join Together made far too many mistakes and was well beaten from the fourth last fence. Nevertheless, he won easily by a wide margin and, in the process, recorded a faster final circuit time than Finian’s Rainbow did on the same day. The fact that Finian’s Rainbow was competing in the Grade 1 Melling Chase over a much shorter trip adds further credence to the merits of Silviniaco Conti’s performance.

    The King George Chase at Kempton and the Betfair Bowl Chase at Aintree in April offer Silviniaco Conti his best two chances of finding Grade 1 success this season. The race at Aintree is almost always the weaker of the two races and therefore has to be his best chance of a victory at the highest level. The Punchestown Gold Cup is another race that could well be on the hit list for the Nicholls’ camp. At the time of writing, Silviniaco Conti is currently a 14/1 shot with Ladbrokes for the King George Chase; furthermore, Grands Crus is 6/1 with the same firm which would return close to a 4/1 shot for either of two of the strongest contenders winning the race. My guess is that both horses will trade shorter on the day and, personally, I believe that each holds stronger claims than the current ante post favourite Long Run.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mayo's Avatar
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    Nicholls said: "He is a really decent horse. He's only six, he jumps, he stays - he jumped brilliantly today.

    "We had a chat before the race and I said if they go quick get a lead, if they don't then bowl along. He jumps and gallops.

    "There's no better man to ride in front than Ruby."

    Nicholls revealed he may not even run again between now and next March.

    "I said if he won today we'd go for the Gold Cup and that is the plan. You couldn't leave him in his box on Gold Cup day after that performance," he said.

    "I'm not going to rush him and I might go straight to the Gold Cup with him.

    "He wants to be fresh and I'm not going to run him through the winter in the mud.

    "He definitely won't run in the King George, I don't think Kempton is his track. He won't run anywhere over Christmas.

    "We could give him a run in something like the Aon but I certainly wouldn't be worried about going straight there with him.

    "He could be really interesting, come Cheltenham.

    "I thought he didn't get the credit he deserved at Wetherby (winning Charlie Hall).

    "Long Run is a very good horse but for a six-year-old it was a good performance (today).

    "Kauto won this as a six-year-old and went on to win the Gold Cup in the same season, and this horse is very, very exciting. He jumps, he has speed and he stays very well.

    "Being by Dom Alco he can only improve and it's fantastic to have a young horse like this in the yard.

    "I had tears in my eyes watching Kauto go in front of the stands today.

    "He and the other old boys have moved on and it's so exciting to see the younger horses come through. It really is a dream come true."

    Walsh, who partnered Kauto Star to both of his Gold Cup victories, is hopeful this horse can give him the hat-trick.

    Walsh said: "The Gold Cup looks the logical step. You win the Charlie Hall, you win the Betfair, it's the obvious target for him.

    "He's a good stayer, he's not slow. I'd love to ride another Gold Cup winner."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Statto's Avatar
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    Ben Lightfoot with a cracking stat. Silvi will run again imo

    There are 111 days between the Betfair Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup this season and no horse has won the Blue Riband after such a long absence for at least the last 25 years (and I lost the will to keep looking beyond that point), so there is one reason to hold your bets.

    Another is the overall validity of the Betfair Chase form. They went a crawl in the early stages and Silviniaco Conti ended up a somewhat reluctant leader under Ruby Walsh who steadily increased the tempo throughout the contest.

    The lack of pace early on didn't suit Long Run, The Giant Bolster or Weird Al - three rivals who didn't have the benefit of a run under their belts as the winner did. I'm not saying Silviniaco Conti wasn't a worthy winner - of course he was - and I'm not saying he can't win the Gold Cup - of course he can. But there are reasons to treat this form with some degree of caution.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mayo's Avatar
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    Donn mc cleans latest

    At the start of this season, I had Silviniaco Conti down as a possible King George horse, not as a possible Gold Cup horse.

    The rationale went something like this. He looked like a pacey horse, a King George-pacey horse, not obviously a Gold Cup-stamina horse. As a hurdler, he was a two-to-two-and-a-half-miler. He finished third behind Menorah and Cue Card in the International Hurdle, the old Bula, over two miles, and he was still a possible for the 2011 Champion Hurdle before he finished fourth of five in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, a recognised Champion Hurdle trial. He didn’t run at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.

    Last season as a novice chaser, he ran a cracker to finish second behind Grands Crus and in front of Bobs Worth in the Feltham Chase over the King George course and distance, before disappointing in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot. You could have easily argued that it was his stamina that ran out in the Ascot race. For the second year on the spin, he skipped Cheltenham.

    As well as the pace-not-stamina theory, there were also other hypotheses. There was one – which had some substance to it at the time – that said that Paul Nicholls’s horse was at his best when he was going right-handed, and there was another one that said that he was at his best on a flat track. Admittedly, he had won the Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow (left-handed, undulating, hypothesis-buster), but his best run over hurdles was his win in the Ascot Hurdle at, well, Ascot (right-handed, relatively flat, uphill if anything, not really undulating), and his best run over fences was that run in the Feltham Chase at Kempton (right-handed, flat).

    He proved that he could operate left-handed over fences when, on his first run over fences going anti-clockwise, he won the Mildmay Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting last April, but that form was not watertight either. He was visually impressive, but he came to Aintree a fresh horse. Runner-up in the race, Champion Court, had endured a hard race when he chased home Sir Des Champs in the Jewson Chase at Cheltenham four weeks previously, while third-placed Join Together, Silviniaco’s stable companion, had been pulled up at the second last fence in the RSA Chase.

    But in the early hours of this season, Silviniaco Conti has gone forward again. He was impressive in winning the Charlie Hall Chase on his debut, a mere six-year-old sophomore against some wizened warriors, and he was even more impressive in beating Long Run (former King George and Gold Cup winner, last season’s Gold Cup third) and The Giant Bolster (last season’s Gold Cup runner-up) in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

    He still looks all pace. They didn’t go a great gallop in either the Charlie Hall or the Betfair Chase, and he killed his rivals for pace over the last three fences on both occasions. But he is now looking like a pace horse with stamina. And his jumping is superb.

    As well as that, he is only six, he will probably improve again between now and March. And he is trained by Paul Nicholls and will almost certainly be ridden by Ruby Walsh. There is an awful lot to like.

    I am still surprised that he is not running in the King George. He would be at least challenging Long Run for favouritism in the Kempton showpiece if the race was his target, and you could easily see him winning it before preparing for the Gold Cup. That said, Paul Nicholls has gone the King-George-Gold-Cup route with Kauto Star, and he has gone the skip-King-George-Gold-Cup route with Denman, so he knows a little about these things. You can be sure that this path to Cheltenham is the path that maximises Silviniaco Conti’s chance of winning the blue riband.

    The Dom Alco gelding (another one?) still has to do it over fences on an undulating track – Wetherby and Haydock are both flat tracks – and he has to prove that he has the stamina for an extended three and a quarter miles, but the case for him is as strong as you can make for any Gold Cup aspirant at present. He is a major player.

  8. #8
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    Update from Nick Mordin

    SILVINIACO CONTI SETS THE STANDARD FOR GOLD CUP

    If you believe the official race times SILVINIACO CONTI (43) ran really slow when winning the Betfair Chase. He officially ran 3.6 seconds slower than the winner of a class 2 handicap chase over the same course and distance earlier on the card.

    In fact the slow time was down to the fact that the field for the Betfair Chase stood for several seconds at the start and then almost walked towards the first fence because nobody wanted to take the lead. If you time the race from the first fence and compare it with the other two chases on the card from that point to the subsequent fences and the finish things look very different:

    Qtz d tx.......Silv Cont....Mons Cad

    3m ch.........3m ch.......3m 4f ch

    13.26..........14.33........13.73

    27.19.........28.93........28.59

    39.99..........42.39........42.46

    52.99..........55.46........55.93

    91.33..........92.86........92.73

    106.19......107.99........107.99

    122.73......124.33........124.73

    137.46......139.26........139.86

    191.73......192.13........193.73

    204.73......204.79........206.59

    218.46......217.99........221.33

    231.06......230.39........234.79

    243.79......242.66........248.13

    279.66......277.53........284.13

    294.13......291.13........298.39

    309.99......305.59........314.33

    324.66......319.33........329.33

    339.59......333.93........344.39

    As you can see Silviniaco Conti didn't go fast early but did not set that slow a pace. He was never running more than about 2.5 seconds behind the handicappers in the early part of the race. He'd caught up by the eleventh fence and then powered away from them, reaching the finish 5.66 seconds ahead of the handicappers - not 3.6 seconds behind.

    This kind of discrepancy happens all the time in jump races. It's basically impossible to make sense of the times horses run - flat or jumps - without sectional timing.

    Now that I've got that off my chest, let me say that Silviniaco Conti jumped well, even when he picked up the pace, and he clocked a time that would win four out of five Cheltenham Gold Cups.

    I was pleased to hear after the race that trainer Paul Nicholls is keen on the idea of giving Silviniaco Conti the winter off and taking him straight to the Gold Cup from this race. The horse's record says this would be a very good idea.

    So far Silviniaco Conti has won nine times out of ten from March to November and lost all five times he's run from December to February.

    I worry a little that Silviniaco Conti is a bit on the small side for a chaser and might get crowded into trouble in the big field that always lines up for the Gold Cup these days. But he won a thirteen runner race over fixed brush hurdles around a tight track in France so I can't see any good evidence that a big field might be a problem for him.

    The stats certainly suggest Silviniaco Conti is a major player in the Gold Cup. If he goes straight to the Gold Cup from this race he will probably be one of only four or five runners that match up to what I think are the two strongest statistics for the big race, These two stats are:

    * Fifteen of the last sixteen Gold Cup winners had run 13 or fewer times over fences, won at least half their completed starts over the bigger jumps and had reached the first three in a Grade 1 chase.

    * The last twenty three Gold Cup winners earned a Racing Post rating bigger than 155 last time out, or on their last completed start, and that rating was within seven pounds of their highest ever. Or they earned their biggest ever Racing Post rating on one of their last two starts.

    I can understand that some jump fans will be disappointed at not seeing one of the stars of the winter sport more often. I recall these sort of feelings being expressed when Best Mate and See You Then were being prepared for their hat tricks in the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle. Some criticised Best Mate's trainer Henry Knight for being too cautious in not running him more often while some fans called Henderson's brilliant hurdler 'See You When?' due to his infrequent appearances.

    The truth is big races over jumps really take it out of a horse. It's rare for a horse to win one that has a lot of miles on the clock. As I've noted above fifteen of the last sixteen Gold Cup winners had run 13 or fewer times over fences before their big win. Paul Nicholls should be applauded for doing the right thing with Silviniaco Conti.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Old Vic's Avatar
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    Nicholls said in his Betfair column: "Talking of Silviniaco Conti, next stop for him is the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury in February.

    "His owners Jared (Sullivan) and Chris (Giles) seem to like winning valuable Betfair-sponsored races - Silviniaco won the Betfair Chase obviously, and Zarkandar won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last year - and for racegoers at Newbury I hope to be able to arrange a bonus.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mayo's Avatar
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    Gibsons guide

    SILVINIACO CONTI

    He won five from his seven starts over hurdles and in the process acquired a mark of 154 at the end of his novice season over the smaller obstacles. He began his chasing career by finishing a well beaten third behind Cue Card and Michael Flips at Chepstow in early October. Paul Nicholls had warned before the race that Silviniaco Conti would improve a lot for the run which certainly appears to be the case when comparing his current rating of 168 with that of the horse that finished a length in front of him on the day.

    Silviniaco Conti then ran three more times with mixed fortunes before heading to Aintree in April where he ran out an impressive winner of the Grade Two Mildmay Novices’ Chase contested over three miles and one furlong. It should be noted that the runner up Champion Court probably does not quite get home over this extended three mile trip, whilst the third horse, Join Together made far too many mistakes and was well beaten from the fourth last fence. Nevertheless, he won easily by a wide margin and, in the process, recorded a faster final circuit time than Finian’s Rainbow did on the same day. The fact that Finian’s Rainbow was competing in the Grade One Melling Chase over a much shorter trip adds further credence to the merits of Silviniaco Conti’s performance.

    He made his seasonal debut in the 2012 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby where he drew right away on the run in from the 142 rated Wayward Prince. He followed up just 21 days later with a comprehensive defeat of Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock where he certainly enjoyed the run of the race. He has always performed well when racing as a fresh horse so the fact that he has been off for 77 days is of no concern. He is currently trading as the 4/6 favourite for the Betfair Denman Chase and has every chance of maintaining his unbeaten record this season.

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