Conti heads Charlie Hall seven
Silviniaco Conti will take his first steps on the road to Cheltenham on Saturday, with Paul Nicholls’ 8yo among seven declared for the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Nicholls’ charge will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the Gold Cup next March after falling two years ago and finishing fourth last season and currently leads the market for his reappearance run in this weekend’s Wetherby showpiece, a race in which he was victorious two years ago.
11/10 for the 3m 1f contest, Silviniaco Conti is well clear of his rivals on ratings, with the nearest to him being the consistent Menorah who is fully 9lbs lower and has tasted defeat on many occasions at the hands of Nicholls’ charge, including in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree at the end of last season.
In between the two in the market is the current second favourite Taquin Du Seuil for Jonjo O’Neill. The beautiful big brown gelding was a revelation among the Novice ranks last season, ending with victory in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham but was slightly disappointing on his comeback run at Newton Abbot earlier in the month, although he should come on for that run.
The always gallant The Giant Bolster is also among the declarations and will be making his first appearance since going oh so close in the Gold Cup last March, a race for which he will surely be aimed for again by David Bridgwater. Alan King has the injury blighted Medermit in the field, with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Double Ross and two time runner-up, Wayward Prince, also among the entries.
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: David Davies/PA Archive
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