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Litmus test for Conti

International challenge for Silviniaco

Last Updated: 09/12/10 6:08pm

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Silviniaco Conti faces a tough task giving weight away.

Silviniaco Conti faces a tough task giving weight away.

Sky Bet

Paul Nicholls believes that he will be able to map out Silviniaco Conti's campain for the rest of the season after Saturday's Stanjames.com International Hurdle.

The four-year-old has burst onto the scene this season, winning his three starts to date since arriving from France, including a seven-length thumping of Karabak in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

At Cheltenham he faces two other potential Champion Hurdle candidates and the champion trainer is under no illusions about the task he faces.

"He has to give four pounds to Cue Card and Menorah which isn't going to be easy and the way he runs in this will decide whether we train him for the Champion Hurdle or go down the route of perhaps aiming him at Aintree and two-and-half and those sort of races. It's a big day for him," he told Racing UK.

Menorah is likely to have a pacemaker in Saturday's race - but Nicholls doesn't see the early pace being a concern to his charge.

" A good fast-run race will suit him but he could make his own running if needed."

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