Silviniaco Conti: fourth in Gold Cup at Cheltenham Festival last seasonPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Silviniaco Conti bids for second Charlie Hall
SILVINIACO CONTI will start his season off in Saturday's Grade 2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, a campaign Paul Nicholls hopes will again include the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Winner of the Wetherby race in 2012, and fourth in the Gold Cup last season, Silviniaco Conti was among seven declarations, and Nicholls also has the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase on the eight-year-old's agenda.
Speaking to Radio Yorkshire, Nicholls said: "He's one of the top chasers about and has got to start the season somewhere.
"We're hoping for a good run, it'd be nice if he wins and it will hopefully set him up for the season."
Silviniaco Conti heads the market at a top-priced 5-4, with Taquin Du Seuil next at 7-2. Menorah is a 6-1 shot, with Medermit, The Giant Bolster, Double Ross and Wayward Prince completing the field.
Only three go to post for the other Grade 2 on Wetherby's card, with At Fishers Cross taking on Cole Harden and Medinas in the bet365 Hurdle.
At Down Royal the feature is the Grade 1 JNwine.com Champion Chase, with Ma Filleule heading the betting for Nicky Henderson.
The mare, along with First Lieutenant were confirmed as starters earlier in the week, and will be joined by Boston Bob, On His Own, Realt Mor, Road To Riches, Rocky Creek and Tammys Hill.
Ascot's highlight is the Grade 3 United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase, with Katenko off topweight for Venetia Williams.
Updated cards to follow...