Paul Nicholls reports Silviniaco Conti in better shape than last year as he heads into the final days of his preparation for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The nine-year-old was sent off the second favourite for the Festival feature in 2014 but had to settle for fourth after drifting across the track late on, surrendering a lead he could not reclaim.
Nicholls has followed a similar route to Cheltenham this term and while he failed to fire on his seasonal bow in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, Silviniaco Conti went on to bag the Betfair Chase at Haydock before making virtually all of the running for a second King George VI Chase victory at Kempton.
The Ditcheat handler said: “He looks way better than he did this time last year and he’s in good order.
“He has been out (on Tuesday morning) and done a piece of hard work, which we were very happy with.
“I thought when he won the King George that was probably a career-best. He made the running and galloped on really strongly.
“Something he wasn’t doing last year was finishing strongly. So we sorted out his gastric ulcers and the cheekpieces have got him jumping sharper.
“He looks fantastic in his skin and we’ve just go to get through the next 10 days.”