Betfair Ascot Chase
Grade 1, Ascot 15:35
£150,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 5f 8y, Class 1  
Saturday 20th February 2016

1 Silviniaco Conti 2/1F
2 Dynaste 9/2
3 Royal Regatta 9/1
8 ran Distances: 20l, 2¼l, 14l
TIME 5m 29.10s (slow by 21.10s)

Silviniaco Conti impressively wins his seventh Grade One Chase under Noel Fehily

Silviniaco Conti
© Racehorse Photos
Silviniaco Conti

Silviniaco Conti could take his chance in the Crabbie's Grand National after he bounced back to Grade One-winning form at the Berkshire track.

In a season which has so far been largely disappointing, the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding took his seventh, and most decisive, victory at the highest level in the fashion of a horse who still has plenty more to offer.

Sitting upsides pacesetter Royal Regatta throughout the two-mile-five-furlong contest, the 2-1 favourite moved past the Philip Hobbs-trained runner three fences from home with consummate ease

The 10-year-old quickly put his assured stamina to good use, drawing clear over the final two fences to leave behind his lacklustre effort in this season's King George VI Chase and post a 20-length victory over the staying-on Dynaste.

Following the race, Silviniaco Conti was shortened into 16-1 from 25-1 for the Crabbie's Grand National by William Hill, while both MansionBet and Boylesports cut him into 20-1.

Nicholls said: "I was mortified after the King George, I couldn't believe how badly he ran.

"He was pain-free today, blinkers were the right thing, the ground was right and he was back to his best.

"We had problems going into the King George and he pulled up at Kempton basically because he was hurting and also he was choking a fraction.

"We did his wind and had his palate cauterised and his sarcoids healed up, so he was not feeling any pain.

"When he's right he's a very good horse, you have to be to win seven Grade Ones. When he's right he's very good, but we've struggled all season.

"The problems he's had have been incredible. I knew he was coming right but I thought another fortnight might have done him good, but he was very fresh beforehand.

"He has been lazy when hitting the front and it was a bit like See More Business all over again. What blinkers can do for these older horses is incredible.

"He won't run in the World Hurdle, it will either be the National or the Betfred Bowl that he's won for the past few years.

"The National is a definite possibility and I said to the lads that we will make the decision nearer the time. Arguably he is quite well-in now.

"Neptune Collonges was the best horse I've run in the race (National) and I've always thought that Silviniaco Conti would follow him, as they are by the same sire."

Winning rider Noel Fehily praised Nicholls for his efforts in rejuvenating Silviniaco Conti.

He said: "It's great to get him back, well done to Paul and his team, a great training performance.

"I thought we'd gone a good gallop and I wanted to make sure he galloped through the line today, which he hadn't been doing.

"The blinkers didn't do any harm, he jumped much better today, certainly better than at Haydock."

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Betfair Ascot Chase
£150,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f 8y, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Soft

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Silviniaco Conti (FR) 2/1f N D Fehily
P F Nicholls 10
2nd 20 Dynaste (FR) 9/2 T Scudamore
D Pipe 10
3rd Royal Regatta (IRE) 9/1 T J O'Brien
P J Hobbs 8
4th 14 Amore Alato 33/1 Aidan Coleman
J Farrelly 7
5th 18 Triolo D'Alene (FR) 5/1 J McGrath
N J Henderson 9
6th 50 Flemenstar (IRE) 5/1 A E Lynch
Anthony Curran 11
PU Savello (IRE) 20/1 Bridget Andrews
D Skelton 10
PU Ma Filleule (FR) 8/1 D A Jacob
N J Henderson 8