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Silviniaco Conti roared back to form with a performance of confidence and maturity as he regained the King George VI Chase for his trainer Paul Nicholls.
Comprehensively beaten in the Betfair Chase last time out behind Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti dispelled any doubts over his seasonal potential with a superb display of jumping to claim the King George VI Chase in sublime style for a yard ever familiar with the rich rewards this race provides.
This would also prove to be the day on which Noel Fehily finally claimed the King George victory he so richly deserved with the most heartwarming of journeys concluding with the most fairytale of endings.
In 2010 Fehily was earmarked for the ride aboard the legendary Kauto Star only to be sidelined late on by an agonising injury hinderance. Three years later, Fehily gained victory for the same trainer in superb style.
Seemingly held by Colin Tizzard's Cue Card as they bounded over the third last fence, Silvinaco Conti responded to every urging of his pilot to challenge for the lead as this strong, talented field of chasers headed towards their final jumping task.
As they propelled their equine statures over the final fence, the inevitable became a reality as Silvinaco Conti edged in front and strongly galloped towards the finishing line, with his potential about to create a new chapter and legacy for the Ditcheat stable of Paul Nicholls.
Nicholls has revelled in the successes of Kauto Star and Denman in years gone by, both of whom had acclaimed victory in the ultimate test, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Yet at a time at which Nicholls future prospects have been largely touted as somewhat bleak, this was a victory of some significance which confirmed that Nicholls is far from overtaken by his rival trainers.
An exceptional stable blessed with an embarrassment of renewed riches and untapped potential, it would be folly to suggest that Nicholls will end here. Furthermore, there is now considerable strength in depth to suggest that Nicholls can strongly challenge for the trainer's championship which he lost last season to his rival Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows stable.
Whether Henderson can respond in timely fashion will be put to the ultimate test tomorrow, as Sprinter Sacre bids for his first victory of the season in the GII Desert Orchid Chase, but it is now anticipated that this season's battle for trainer's honours may now go right down go the wire.
"He outstayed Cue Card, he just keeps on jumoing and was very fit today," said Nicholls. "The ground played right into Silviniaco Conti's hands, but he can jump better left handed [Cheltenham]."
Stan James installed Silvinaco Conti as the 7-2 joint favourite with Bob's Worth for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory after his victory, whilst Cue Card was edged out to 7-1 with the same firm.
Whether Silvinaco Conti will be able to banish his fall in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup to the back of our memories with the ultimate response will be told in time, yet the response of Nicholls to those whom dared to suggest that his own time was neating the end if its tenure is of notable substance.
With four-time World Hurdle champion Big Buck's also nearing his return, this could yet prove just the start of Nicholls' ultimate Championship level response.