Kempton Park still the target for Silviniaco Conti

Silviniaco Conti and Noel Fehily Charlie Hall Chase

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Silviniaco Conti remains on course to defend his King George VI Chase crown at Kempton Park in December despite failing to justify favouritism in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on Saturday.

Paul Nicholls’ charge made all the running before fading tamely in the home straight to finish fifth in a race won by Philip Hobbs’ Menorah.

Silviniaco Conti appeared to have the race at his mercy turning for home but blew-up as the challengers arrived and duly finished eight lengths behind the winner.

The Ditcheat handler felt his charge would improve significantly for the run and believes a stronger gallop at Kempton will play to his strengths.

“He is just getting a bit lazier, Noel (Fehily) said he got very tired. What he needs now is a real end-to-end gallop like he’ll get in the King George. He needed a race to tighten up and he should improve for the run,” Nicholls said.

Silviniaco Conti had been sent off the 2.00 favourite at Wetherby and despite this setback, Nicholls is not altering his plans for the remainder of the campaign.

The eight-year-old will now go to Haydock in three weeks for the Betfair Chase before returning to Kempton on Boxing Day en route to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

His King George victory a year ago saw his staying ability allow him reel in Cue Card up the home straight.

Given Nicholls admission, his preference is for a flat track, and Kempton as opposed to Cheltenham looks his most likely chance of a top level victory this season.

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