Silviniaco Conti lands King George at Kempton
Last Updated: 26/12/13 6:44pm
Silviniaco Conti has the measure of Cue Card jumping the final fence in the King George
Silviniaco Conti cut down the trailblazing Cue Card to win the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.
The eventual runner-up threatened to run and jump his rivals ragged, just as he had done in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, and only the eventual winner was close enough to challenge turning for home.
Soaring over the second last it still seemed as though Cue Card (10/3 jf) had his measure but the petrol tank began to read empty between the last two, and Noel Fehily galvanised Silviniaco Conti.
The 7/2 chance was in front approaching the final fence and powered to the line to score by three-and-a-half lengths. It was 11 lengths back to Al Ferof (5/1) in third.
Fehily said: "I was slow over three out and I thought Joe Tizzard had got away from me, but this horse is as tough as nails and he's a very good horse. This is a different track (to Haydock) and I knew my horse would be fitter today.
"Paul (Nicholls) has done a great job - he told me all week he'd improved from Haydock (when third to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase) and he has. It was brilliant.
"I've not ridden a Gold Cup winner, but I hope he's a Gold Cup horse. This is unbelievable."
Nicholls was winning a remarkable eighth King George and said: "Kempton is not an ideal track for him as he jumps a bit out to the left, but he stays forever. All he does is stay, as you saw today. Better ground and a bit further will suit him well.
"Today was his target - last year the targets were the Charlie Hall and the Betfair. This year was a bit different, to come here and then go for the Gold Cup.
"It's great to win this race with something different (previous wins were five with Kauto Star and two with See More Business). I thought we had a great chance in last season's Gold Cup, but it didn't happen "
Sky Bet reacted by cutting the winner to 7/2 (from 9/1) for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Who knows what would have happened in last year's Gold Cup had Silviniaco Conti not fallen three out. He travelled strongly at Haydock on his reappearance before blowing up and came back today to show he's one to be reckoned with in the top flight staying chases."
Cue Card is 5/2 from 9/2 for the Ryanair Chase, which he won last year, with the same firm.