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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Conti team eyeing Haydock gloryHeadlines
Silviniaco Conti

Silviniaco Conti bids to put his credentials on the line when he tackles Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

The up-and-coming chaser has big shoes to fill following Kauto Star's retirement as he is seemingly Paul Nicholls' chief Gold Cup contender.

Nicholls told Betfair: "The one thing about him is he jumps really, really well and he stays well, which is just what you need to go to a Gold Cup. Whether we'll talk about going to the Gold Cup this season he'll tell us, but the next logical step is the Betfair Chase."

He added: "It's a race we've won four times with Kauto and he's come out of Wetherby really, really well. I think Haydock will suit him well. The only thing I wouldn't want is the ground to get too, too testing, but he's a nice horse for the future."

The Giant Bolster was one place ahead of Long Run in last season's Gold Cup, but trainer David Bridgwater is not confident of confirming the form.

Bridgwater said: "He's in good order. I hope he'll go through the ground as well as the others. We obviously finished ahead of Long Run in the Gold Cup, but this is a different track and a different stage of the season, obviously.

"If we can finish within 10 lengths of him on Saturday, I'll be very happy. I think there's our horse, Long Run and Weird Al who haven't run for a day or two, and you would think they are all going to improve.

"We're really excited about running him. It's just brilliant to be part of races like this."

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