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Last Updated: 13/04/12 4:05pm
Silviniaco Conti: Easy winner of the Mildmay Novices' Chase
Silviniaco Conti cruised home in the John Smith's Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree.
Paul Nicholls' gelding (7-4 fav) had missed the Cheltenham Festival and the fresh horse jumped superbly throughout under a patient Ruby Walsh.
Taking up the lead on the bridle turning for home as stablemate Join Together faded, he only had Champion Court (15-8) as a realistic challenger.
However he outjumped Martin Keighley's charge at the final three obstacles and he wasn't hard pressed to score eased down by 13 lengths.
The runner-up ran a fine race under Alain Cawley, whilst Join Together plodded on for third under Daryl Jacob having been outpaced when the tempo increased.
Nicky Henderson's Solix jumped poorly throughout and along with outsider Yes Tom was well beaten off.
Nicholls said: "He's a good horse. I was really disappointed when he ran at Ascot. He stopped two out but all our horses were wrong at the time.
"We purposely left him out of Cheltenham to come here. He's a young horse, he's improving and we look forward to him next year. He'll be a really nice three-mile chaser.
"His form with Grands Crus and Bobs Worth at Kempton (in the Feltham) augurs well for the future."
Walsh added: "It was a good performance. He jumped and travelled really well. Champion Court is a good yardstick and he's beaten him really well.
"I don't know about three and a quarter miles around Cheltenham (in the Gold Cup). He maybe a King George or a Bowl horse for here next April but he's going the right way."
Champion Court's trainer Martin Keighley said: "He ran OK, but the jockey felt maybe he was a bit flat after his run at Cheltenham.
"He'll have a break now and one more run before we look at the King George. We'll know more about his trip after he's run in that.
Of the third, Join Together, Nicholls said: "He's not really in the same league as Conti. He stayed on all right and he'll be one for staying chases next season."