Paul Nicholls outlines plans for his big stars in the weeks ahead
Last Updated: 03/01/14 4:42pm
Silviniaco Conti: Taking direct route to Cheltenham
Paul Nicholls has confirmed Silviniaco Conti will head straight to the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and the William Hill King George VI Chase winner could be be joined in the field for chasing's blue riband by two stablemates.
Writing in his exclusive column at www.betfair.com/paulnicholls the former champion trainer said: "First off, our King George winner Silviniaco Conti will almost certainly go straight to the Gold Cup. Kempton third Al Ferof will take in the Denman Chase at Newbury next month before we decide whether to go down the Ryanair or Gold Cup route with him.
"Even though he ran a career-best on ratings, the Lexus told us that Unioniste is probably not good enough for the Gold Cup just yet - you have to remember that he is still only a six-year-old - but he will get an entry just in case the ground comes up bottomless. My immediate target for him is a conditions race over 3m2f at Kelso next month, with the 2015 Grand National further down the line!
"Hennessy runner-up Rocky Creek is fine after his little setback after Newbury and goes for the Argento at Cheltenham on January 25, and he will get an entry for the Gold Cup as well as the Grand National."
All continues to go to plan with Big Buck's who is due to make his eagerly awaited return to the track in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham later this month - and he is one of several Nicholls inmates set to be given an entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
"The legend that is Big Buck's is being aimed at the Cleeve Hurdle but I would possibly like to get one more racecourse gallop into him before then, and Zarkandar will also get a World Hurdle entry. He may come into his own over 3m on better ground, but we will possibly take in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell before then. But I will sit down with Chris and Jared and make a plan there," he continued.
"Celestial Halo will hopefully be back cantering next week after his recent setback - he was lame before the Long Walk - and Salubrious will definitely get a World Hurdle entry, too."