Conti set to swerve King George

Silviniaco Conti is to skip the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day as Paul Nicholls looks to lower his sights.

Silviniaco Conti wins last year's Ascot Chase.

A fantastic servant to the champion trainer, he won the Christmas showpiece in 2013 and 2014.

However, in two outings this season at Down Royal and Haydock – where he was fourth to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase on Saturday – it has looked as if age might just be beginning to catch up with the 10-year-old.

Nicholls said: "He is fine. He ran well, but he was outclassed on the day. The ground was testing and I was a bit nervous it came a bit quick after Down Royal.

"We are not going to run him for a little while. We will just freshen him up. He had an entry in the King George, but if all the top ones turn up we would probably dodge it.

"He is not quite what he was, there is no doubt about that. He has been a wonderful horse and I'd like to pick a couple of smaller races for him.

"I suppose you could look at the Ascot race he won last year (Ascot Chase, February) and the Bowl at Aintree.

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"We won't be flying high, but he has got enough ability and enthusiasm."

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