Silviniaco Conti is to be aimed at the Crabbie’s Grand National following his emphatic victory in the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.
Trainer Paul Nicholls wants the 10-year-old to have a crack at the world’s most famous steeplechase rather than bid to win the Betfred Bowl at Aintree in April for the third season in a row.
The horse’s victory at Ascot showed he was over the problems that have dogged his season up to that point.
“Silviniaco Conti looked back to his best after a difficult season in which he has been plagued by sarcoids from the moment he came back into training in the summer,” the Ditcheat trainer told www.paulnichollsracing.com.
“The worst problem, under his elbow, was causing him discomfort and opened up at Haydock. That is why I struggled getting him to Kempton where he also gave a little sign of choking, so we had his palate re-cauterised, gave him a ten-day break to allow the sarcoids to heal and he has been a different horse in the last six weeks. Most important of all Conti has been pain free which has allowed me to step up his work at home. Going to Ascot I still felt he could do with another fortnight before I had him spot on, but you wouldn’t have know it as, wearing blinkers for the first time, he jumped like his old self before stretching 20 lengths clear of Dynaste.
“He will not go to Cheltenham and is much more likely to run in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree rather than bid for a third win in the Bowl.
“I am very tempted by the National and so is his jockey Noel Fehily. Conti is going to be well-in in the race now and when he is right, which he is now, he is a very good horse.”
Silviniaco Conti is second favourite at around 16-1 for the Grand National on 9 April for which he has been given 11st 8lb.
At Wolverhampton today, the drop back to five furlongs can help Gorokai return to winning ways in the Download The New Unibet Racing App Handicap .
David Simock’s sprinter has been on an upward curve this all-weather season, and probably ran right up to his best when his winnign run came to an end last time out.
Having scored at Lingfield and Chelmsford, he returned to the former venue to take on better opposition earlier this month but could only finish third to Richard Hannon’s Aguerooo.
The winner was helped by being ridden by a 7lb apprentice which proved the decisive factor. Back down to the minimum distance he should be better suited and his form has a stronger look to it than that of David Barron’s Wallowitz, who has huge potential but as yet that is all it is. The handicapper has taken no chances giving him a mark of 85 for wining a Southwell maiden.
At the other end of the scale Michael Bell steps Kaisan up half a mile in trip for the 32Red.com Maiden Auction Stakes and he is bred to improve for it.
By Rip Van Winkle, his dam is a half-sister to an Irish Oaks winner so it is no surprise he does not quite have the pace to win over a mile. The form of his two runs to date is nothing special but his opponents do not look as such, either.
2.00 Oscar Jane
3.05 Sonny The One
4.10 Sea Wall
4.45 The Wealerdealer
5.20 Captain Buck’s
2.10 Zayfire Aramis
2.45 Suzy’s Music
3.20 Born Survivor
3.50 Big Jim
4.35 Zephyros Blue
5.00 Listen To The Man
2.55 Flying Fantasy
3.30 Star Ascending
4.00 National Service
4.35 Gorokai (nap)