As anyone who suffers from triskaidekaphobia will be all too well aware, the final day of this year’s Cheltenham Festival falls on Friday the 13th, also known as Black Friday. In keeping with the luckless theme, we’ve decided, for once, to highlight a horse at short odds that we think is one to oppose.
Silviniaco Conti has won all three of the other Grade 1 staying chases run in Britain – the Betfair Chase (twice), the King George VI Chase (twice) and the Betfred Bowl Chase – but has failed on both attempts in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
To be fair, Paul Nicholls’ now 9-year-old was a close third, and travelling well, when falling at the third last in 2013 and was only beaten 1¾ lengths into fourth place last year, despite wandering on the run-in. The Dom Alco gelding officially has 6lb and upwards in hand of his rivals, which accounts for his market position, but the fact remains that all three attempts at Cheltenham have ended in defeat.
He once again faces Lord Windermere, On His Own and The Giant Bolster, who filled the first three places last year, and Bobs Worth, who finished fifth, plus a whole raft of plausible alternatives, so his task is no easier this time around. Coneygree, Djakadam, Many Clouds and Road To Riches are just four of those who could also have a say in the finish, so Silviniaco Conti will have to be at the very top of his game if he’s to make it third time lucky.
Selection: Cheltenham 3.20 Lay Silviniaco Conti (5.1 on Betfair)