Conti has a great chance – Nicholls
Paul Nicholls believes Silviniaco Conti is capable of winning him a first Gold Cup in the post Kauto Star and Denman era during tomorrow's race.
The seven-year-old will be running at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time since arriving at the champion trainer's Ditcheat yard in 2010.
Despite his inexperience, Nicholls believes he is good enough to match the feats of his previous two chasing superstars, who kept the Gold Cup in Ditcheat between 2007 and 2009.
"Any Gold Cup is hard to win but we think we are going there with a nice chance," said Nicholls, who also backed rival Nick Henderson's charges Bob's Worth and Long Run to shine.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"He is workmanlike and does the job right – we have a chance of winning.
"He has done incredibly well this season. He has progressed nicely and done everything right.
"He would be suited by a real fast end-to-end gallop where he can sit in third or fourth and use his jumping, hopefully stay on strong.
"My view is that the three novices from last season – Bob's Worth, Silviniaco Conti and Sir Des Champs – might be the top three. Obviously, you can never rule out Long Run because he has been such a good horse."
Silviniaco Conti's only run at Cheltenham came when he was third over hurdles in late 2010 but he has won on each of his three starts elsewhere this term – including a defeat of 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.
Nicholls does not believe his lack of races at the track will have any negative effect under the guidance of jockey Ruby Walsh tomorrow.
"He jumps well and I keep reading that he cannot win at Cheltenham because he has not won at Cheltenham," said Nicholls.
"He has been around loads of different tracks on different ground. I have always thought he wanted good ground but he has coped well with soft this season.
"This year he won the Charlie Hall, the Betfair Chase from Long Run and then the other day he had his prep race at Newbury which he won nicely."
Nicholls suffered a disappointing start to the Festival and was without a winner on the opening day.
Champion Hurdle hope Zarkandar faded in the closing stages of Tuesday's feature race and could only finish fourth as 2011 winner Hurricane Fly – ridden by Walsh – reclaimed the title for trainer Willie Mullins.
Dodging Bullets was a disappointing ninth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle as the same Walsh- Mullins combination triumphed with Champagne Fever.