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Conti to Prove Big Moneyspinner for Hungry Nicholls


9/25/2013 - The 2012/13 National Hunt season saw Paul Nichollsí stranglehold on the trainersí championship finally broken as his old rival, Nicky Henderson, wrested the title away to land the crown for the first time in 25 years.

The loss of his championship will surely spur on the Ditcheat-based Nicholls to raise his game for the coming season, and while Henderson does appear to hold most of the aces in the chasing sphere, there is one horse in particular that should give Nicholls every chance of winning plenty of good races in the three-mile division.

Silviniaco Conti may arguably have gone very close to winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup had he not fallen at the third from home when seemingly travelling best in a close third under Ruby Walsh. To rub salt into the wound, Nicholsí arch-rival, Henderson, went on to win the big race with Bobs Worth, and also take third place with former champion, Long Run, landing prize money that virtually assured the title would change hands.

Silviniaco Conti went on to the Liverpool Festival three weeks later and finished a close third behind First Lieutenant in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl, but many experts at felt the horse was over the top for the season and not at his best.

Given a long summer break, the gelded son of Dom Alco is reported to have come back into training in fine form and it is likely he will follow a similar route as last term and head for the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, a contest in which he accounted for the high-class Long Run in the 2012 renewal.

The seven-year-old is currently offered at 10/1 in the ante-post markets for both the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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