Trainer Paul Nicholls won his sixth Betfair Chase with Silviniaco Conti after an exciting finale to the showpiece £200,000 contest at Haydock Park.
Menorah, who had beaten Silviniaco Conti at Wetherby last time, looked the chief danger approaching the final fence when there was little between them, but the Nicholls horse forged clear up the straight to win decisively under Noel Fehily in the 10th year of Haydock’s signature jumps race.
It was Silviniaco Conti’s second Betfair win, having triumphed in the valuable Haydock prize two years ago.
Nicholls won it four times with the mighty Kauto Star,so this latest triumph continued his near-dominance.
Dynaste ran a game race to be third on his seasonal re-appearance, but last year’s Betfair winner Cue Card could only finish fourth, not helped by some indifferent jumping, and he faded out of contention up the finishing straight.
Nicholls said: “It is fantastic to win it again - we put the cheekpieces on to Silviniaco Conti and it worked.”
Now Silviniaco Conti is in for a fascinating clash with stable-mate Al Ferof in King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day - Al Ferof won the Amlin Chase the same afternoon at Ascot in superb style.
Paddy Power make Silviniaco Conti the 7-2 favourite for the King George (from 7’s).
Al Ferof was cut to 8-1 from 20s with the same firm.
Earlier, The New One, third in this year’s Champion Hurdle, justified 1-3 favouritism to take one of the support races, the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle.
The New One’s jockey Sam Twiston-Davies refused to panic when the enterprisingly-ridden Zamdy Man poached a long lead, but by the last he had drawn upside the pacesetter, quickening up to score tidily by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Seven-pounds claimer Lizzie Kelly made history when becoming the first female jockey, flat or jumps, ever to ride a pattern race winner at Haydock - the win came in the Betfair ‘This Is Play’ Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle aboard Aubusson.
Irish trainer Philip Fenton has been disqualified from holding a trainer’s licence for three years following an Irish Turf Club hearing after anabolic steroids and other banned substances were found at his yard.