Silviniaco Conti bids to follow in some famous hoofprints on Saturday
Paul Nicholls hopes Silviniaco Conti can become his third horse to complete the Denman Chase/Cheltenham Gold Cup double.
Last Updated: 08/02/13 4:58pm
One of those to manage the celebrated double was the very horse whose name now adorns this Grade Two prize, and Denman is set to make his first public appearance since his retirement when he parades before the race.
The other, of course, was Kauto Star, and Silviniaco Conti has now assumed his position as top staying chaser in the champion trainer's yard after his victories in the Charlie Hall Chase and Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Put away since then, the likely hot favourite faces seven varied rivals over three miles.
Speaking in his Betfair blog, Nicholls said he "wouldn't swap him for any horse in the Gold Cup line-up" although warning there is plenty to work on.
"He is the odds-on favourite but be aware that I have left a lot to work on. I am keen to get a run into him before Cheltenham to fine-tune him.
"I purposely gave him Christmas off to have a fresh horse at this stage. So fitness-wise, he is probably in a similar place to where he was before he won the Charlie Hall, namely that he is fit enough to do himself justice but he will improve enormously for the run.
"So while defeat here would be disappointing, it wouldn't be disastrous. Remember, Kauto Star only scrambled home in this race by a neck from L'Ami before winning at Cheltenham in 2007 and Denman unseated his rider at odds of 1-6 before going on to finish second in the 2010 Gold Cup."