Aintree silver lining for Nicholls

Silviniaco Conti powers his way home at Aintree
Silviniaco Conti powers his way home at Aintree
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Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Noel Fehily, won the Betfred Bowl at Aintree.

In the process, the King George VI Chase winner bounced back from his below-par showing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month as he demonstrated his true class.

He had led jumping the final fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month before wandering under pressure and finishing fourth, and he was a 9-4 shot for his latest Grade One assignment.

Fehily was keen to ensure the three-mile-one-furlong contest was a searching test of stamina and set a good gallop from the outset, closely pursued by last year’s Betfred Bowl winner, First Lieutenant.

The pair led their rivals into the straight, with hot favourite Dynaste, Argocat and Menorah all laying down a challenge.

Dynaste eventually emerged as the biggest threat to Silviniaco Conti, who again wandered across the track, but Nicholls’ charge jumped the final fence well and kept up the gallop to hold the market leader by a length and a half.

Argocat came through to grab third from First Lieutenant.

Fehily said: “I think he likes a little bit of company, he likes to go along with other horses.

“I was ever so disappointed to get beat in the Gold Cup because I thought he was the best horse and in the end I didn’t end up in the first three.”

Nicholls said: “I wanted to be very positive with him - he keeps on galloping.

“He did the job well. He’s won a King George and this, so it’s brilliant.

“I’ll talk to the lads, there’s Punchestown but I think we’ll probably end it (the season) on that.”

Nicholls went on: “We’ve needed a good chaser after Kauto and Denman, and he’s done fantastically right.”