International target for Conti
Impressive Ascot winner on Champion route
Last Updated: 22/11/10 3:00pm
Silviniaco Conti: Cheltenham bound
Silviniaco Conti will run in the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.
Paul Nicholls' four-year-old impressed when winning the Coral Ascot Hurdle on Saturday and connections initially mooted a winter break following the win.
However, the Ditcheat handler has now decided to drop him in trip to two miles and one furlong at Cheltenham's International meeting next month.
"I tweeted on the way back from Aintree yesterday afternoon that I was considering going for the Bula (International) at Cheltenham next month - and I can reveal, that all being well, that is where he will go next," Nicholls said in his column at www.betfair.com/paulnicholls.
"I have to give him a chance to stake a Champion Hurdle claim after Saturday's win."
Sky Bet cut Silviniaco Conti to 10-1 for the Champion Hurdle on Monday morning.
Timeform were suitably impressed with Silviniaco Conti at Ascot and issued him a rating of 164p, putting him behind only reigning champion Binocular (168) amongst those quoted in the Champion Hurdle market.
They also reported that Imperial Commander had run some way below his Gold Cup winning form in landing the Betfair Chase, but in doing so had shown every sign of being as good as ever.
Kieran Packman, Timeform spokesman, commented "Silviniaco Conti made a superb start out of novice company and the Champion Hurdle is a realistic target in the spring. He jumped really well and travelled smoothly all the way, his superior speed admittedly a factor against a trio likely to be stepping up in trip.
"Paul Nicholls mentioned the Bula as his next potential outing in a tweet on Sunday and he'd likely prove hard to beat in that contest. Certainly, our team think double figure quotes for the Champion underestimate the value of his success.
"Imperial Commander returned a performance figure of 161 in the Betfair Chase and clearly didn't have to match his Gold-cup winning performance (182) to gain a third Grade 1 success, but he got the job done readily and certainly left the impression he's returned as good as ever, jumping impeccably and always seeming in control after taking over at the tenth.
"It's also worth noting from the weekend that impressive handicap winner Grands Cru ran to a figure of 160p, which puts him firmly in the World Hurdle picture should connections go down that route."