Cheltenham Gold Cup Contenders 2014 - Silviniaco Conti
Silviniaco Conti looks to be a fascinating Gold Cup contender for Paul Nicholls this season and the betting suggests he has a live chance. The Ditcheat trainer has been on the look out for a Gold Cup replacement for the likes of Kauto Star and Denman and it could be that in Silviniaco Conti he might have just found one. Last season Silviniaco Conti was travelling well when falling three out in the Gold Cup which esnures he is one to watch again in 2014.
The horse had a decent hurdling career but it has been over chasing where he seems to have come into his own. He hacked up at Aintree in 2012 to win the Mildmay Novices Chase in some style which marked him out as a horse to watch over the coming years. This season the horse has made a real step up though with two excellent wins to start his season. He jumped really well to beat some good horses in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby before producing a career best to win the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
That day at Haydock we saw Silviniaco Conti quicken really nicely to put Long Run firmly in his place. The Nicholls horse jumped really well that day and he simply had too much cruising sped for Long Run who as we know has since gone onto win the King George to frank the form. A repeat of that run at Cheltenham should see him go very close but there are one or two doubts still surrounding his Gold cup chances.
His second run of the season came at Newbury when he won the Denman Chase in fine style on his final start before the Festival. He pulled clear of The Giant Bolster who battled on for second but couldn't really land a blow on the progressive Silviniaco Conti.
His biggest win to date though came on boxing Day 2013 as he stayed on the best to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton. In testing conditions, Silviniaco Conti showed his stamina to wear down Cue Card and win one of the best races in the sport. That win only enhanced his Gold Cup chances and as the latest betting suggests, Silviniaco Conti is a major contender for the Festival.