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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Conti features in Denman nineHeadlines
Silviniaco Conti

Leading Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Silviniaco Conti could face up to eight rivals in Saturday's Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury.

The three-mile Grade Two was reopened for 24 hours on Monday after failing to attract enough entries, and the field is headed by Paul Nicholls' charge, who ran away with the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby before beating former Gold Cup hero Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

Nicky Henderson revealed on Monday that Long Run would not be lining up at Newbury as initially planned, but the Seven Barrows handler may still be represented, with Master Of The Hall engaged.

Last year's Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster ran well behind Silviniaco Conti at Haydock and could renew rivalry, but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He also has the option of running in a handicap at Warwick on Saturday.

Peterborough Chase winner Menorah could tackle three miles for the first time for Philip Hobbs and French recruit Mail De Bievre is an interesting possible runner for Tom George. The entries are completed by Weird Al, Little Josh, Restless Harry and Junior.

Mail De Bievre is on course to make his British debut. The eight-year-old was one of the real stars of the French chasing scene in the spring of 2010, but he has run just once since and that was in a hurdle race at Auteuil back in September 2011.

George has been impressed with what the Cadoudal gelding, who holds a Gold Cup entry, has produced on his Down Farm gallops this term.

The trainer said: "He's had a good preparation and we've been delighted with everything he's done at home since he joined us about four months ago. He was a very high-class horse in France. He had a mark of 172 over there, but they've dropped him to 160 because he's been off the track a year and a half.

"Racing is a lot different over here and we'll learn a lot more about him on Saturday.

"We've always got going back to France with him up our sleeve if we need to go that way. We're really looking forward to running him on Saturday. It should be an exciting day."

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