Silviniaco Conti, who produced an impressive comeback display at Wetherby three weeks ago, can pick up the baton let loose by Kauto Star in the showpiece event at Haydock tomorrow.
With the recently-retired Kauto Star due to parade before the £200,000 Betfair Chase, which he won four times, including last year, this Grade 1 event is now the target of his stable-mate Silviniaco Conti, a horse who is set to enjoy a bumper campaign.
One of last season’s leading novices, the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding ended that term with a decisive win at Aintree’s Grand National meeting and began the present one with a similarly emphatic display in the Charlie Hall Chase.
Tomorrow’s race is a fascinating one. In opposition are The Giant Bolster, runner-up in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Long Run, third in the Blue Riband of chasing in March, a race he had won in such fine style the previous year.
While The Giant Bolster and Long Run have both to confirm their fitness and well-being, Silviniaco Conti has already done just that. He can pick up where Kauto Star left off 12 months ago in Haydock’s feature event.
In the £80,000 Betfair ‘Fixed Brush’ Handicap Hurdle, Tim Easterby bids for a jackpot prize with Trustan Times.
The gelding, who was jumping fences last season, made a victorious return to action at Wetherby recently when defying top-weight in a handicap hurdle. He has a stiffer task now, but he’s a decent horse and it would be no surprise to see him figure in the shake-up.
Also worth noting at Haydock is Ballybough Gorta (3.40), who has been in tremendous form lately for Peter Bowen and who was a winner here on his latest start.
At Wolverhampton’s evening meeting, North Yorkshire sprinters Greenhead High and Another Citizen can land the two divisions of the 32Red.com Handicap over six furlongs.
Greenhead High is first up, representing David Nicholls, and the four-year-old is taken to step up on his fourth-placed effort on this course last week, when he missed a beat at the start and was drawn wide. He is drawn in stall one this time and is awarded the nap vote.
Another Citizen was narrowly beaten on his latest visit to this course. Tim Easterby’s gelding, having finished runner-up on his last two starts, is selected to resume winning ways.
David O’Meara drops Classic Colori in class in the 32Redbet.com Claiming Stakes.
Unplaced over hurdles a week ago, the five-year-old is a dual-winner on the Flat and came within a neck of winning the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September. Rated 85, he ought to be good enough to score at this level. Graham Lee has the mount.
Barton-le-Street trainer Peter Niven has his small dual-purpose string in good order and Barton Bounty (9.20) could be another winner for the former highly successful jump jockey.
Nothing if not consistent, he has winning form on this course. He promises to go well in the closing contest.
Haydock (tomorrow, selected races)
2.30 Trustan Times, 3.05 Silviniaco Conti, 3.40 Ballybough Gorta.
5.50 Italian Riviera, 6.20 Greenhead High (NAP), 6.50 Another Citizen, 7.20 Windforpower, 7.50 Desert Sunrise, 8.20 Classic Colori, 8.50 Chief Executive, 9.20 Barton Bounty.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Ascot and Lingfield.
Today’s meetings: Ascot, Haydock, Ffos Las and Wolverhampton.