Gold Cup fourth Silviniaco Conti given Aintree go-ahead

Trainer Paul Nicholls has revealed that Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth Silviniaco Conti is set to take his chance in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree, but the stats suggest that he has it all to do to land the feature race on Thursday, April 3rd.

The King George winner was beaten by just 1 3/4 lengths at Prestbury Park, where he had a hard race and wandered under pressure on the run-in.

His handler is unsure whether the gelding caught out by the Cheltenham hill that day as all his best form has come on flat tracks.

The eight-year-old is said to have come out of the race well, and Nicholls believes that he is still a relatively fresh horse having had just one run since Christmas.

However, he got turned over at even money in last year’s Betfred Bowl when finishing just third to First Lieutenant and that run came after he had fell three from home in the Gold Cup when seemingly travelling strongly.

Other horses to have contested the Cheltenham show-piece and get turned over at Aintree include the mighty duo of Denman and Kauto Star who were also trained by Nicholls.

Kauto Star got beat a nose by Our Vic in 2008 having finished runner-up to Denman in the Gold Cup, and his stable companion fell two from home in the Bowl 12 months later when looking beat and sent off the even money favourite.

Indeed, just one horse from the front three in the Gold Cup has won the race since 1997.

That doesn’t augur well for the chances of Silviniaco Conti, despite the fact that his trainer has won the race twice with See More Business (2000) and What A Friend (2010).

The son of Dom Alco is also likely to face some top class opposition, including Ryanair Chase winner Dynaste and First Lieutenant who beat him fair and square by 1 3/4 lengths in last year’s contest.