Mildmay Novices' Chase Friday 13th April 2012 

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Silviniaco Conti Eases to Mildmay Victory

1 Silviniaco Conti 7/4F
2 Champion Court 15/8
3 Join Together 9/2
5 ran Distances: 13l, 12l, 68l
TIME 6m 24.90s (slow by 17.90s)

Silviniaco Conti, the mount of Ruby Walsh, ran out a comfortable winner from the Martin Keighley-trained Champion Court, while stable companion Join Together battled on for third.

Silviniaco Conti
© Racehorse Photos

Silviniaco Conti

Both the winning trainer and jockey felt Kempton’s King George VI Chase would be a logical long-term goal for the six-year-old, and Nicholls said: “He was obviously wrong when he ran at Ascot [in February] because he travelled like the winner and then stopped suddenly, but all our horses were out of form then.

“We missed Cheltenham with him on purpose because I don’t think he’s a Cheltenham horse physique-wise at the moment. We made this his target and he got it spot on.

“He travelled and jumped as well as he’s ever done and he’s maturing all the time. He will be really interesting next season and we’ll have to aim for the King George because a flat track suits him.”

Of Join Together, Nicholls said: “He ran nicely enough. He disappointed me when he last ran and I didn’t want to end the season with him having pulled up. Last year he pulled up at the Festival over hurdles and when he went there and won at the start of this season he just thought about pulling up going past the stands, so I wanted to end on a positive note.

“He stayed on alright, but he’ll never be in the same league as Conti. That said he’ll give his owners a lot of fun and he’ll be the type for those long-distance staying chases. He could end up in the National one day although he’ll need luck with the handicapper to be effective in that.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Silviniaco Conti
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 4lbs
7 - 4
Champion Court
M Keighley
A P Cawley
11st 4lbs
15 - 8
13 lengths
Join Together
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 4lbs
9 - 2
12 lengths
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 4lbs
6 - 1
68 lengths
Yes Tom
R T J Wilson
P J Brennan
11st 4lbs
20 - 1
21 lengths



Jockey Ruby Walsh feels that Silviniaco Conti could be an ideal contender for next year’s Betfred Bowl at Aintree after winning the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices' Chase in good style.

“It was a good performance - he jumped really well and travelled really well. I thought that (runner-up) Champion Court was a good yardstick and he has beaten him really well,” said Walsh.

“I don’t know whether three and a quarter miles on a track like Cheltenham would suit him and he might be more of a King George horse or maybe the Bowl here next April. He’s going the right way, anyway.”

Part-owner Chris Giles, who is represented by Zarkandar in tomorrow’s John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle, added: “We bypassed Cheltenham to concentrate on today and he turned up for us. I bought into him last year - Jared Sullivan was the original owner - and I am delighted to have come in on the horse.

“I think the decision to miss Cheltenham has paid off. I think that he prefers a flat track - he ran well in the Feltham at Kempton - and he loved it out there today.

“We have Zarkandar tomorrow and he has come on a bit since Cheltenham, when he was a little bit light. I think that he will be fit and ready to go. It looked like he wanted a bit further in the Champion Hurdle and we are very excited.”


The John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase runner-up Champion Court was stepping up to three miles and a furlong after his good second-place finish to Sir Des Champs over two and a half miles in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last month and trainer Martin Keighley is still undecided about the best distance for his talented chaser.

He said: “Alain [Cawley, jockey] said he felt a bit flat and maybe the Cheltenham race has taken a bit out of him. He still ran a mighty race and it’s a job to know about the trip. He does seem happier bowling along in front so perhaps we ought to drop him back to two and a half miles.

“He’ll have a holiday now and we’ll think about next season. He’ll have one run and then go to the King George and we can decide on his trip.”

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