Nicholls maps out early plans

Silviniaco Conti is set to kick off his campaign in the Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Silviniaco Conti: Set to run at Down Royal

The dual King George hero claimed his seventh Grade One success in the Ascot Chase back in February, but was pulled up in the Grand National at Aintree on his next start and has not been seen in competitive action since.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has made a flying start to the month, with his four-timer at Chepstow on Sunday taking his October tally to eight, and Silviniaco Conti is just one of the stable stars for whom the Ditcheat maestro has made early-season plans.

He said: "Silviniaco Conti is off to Down Royal for the three-mile Grade One and Le Mercurey will go out there on the same day for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two chase.

"Zarkandar could go to Wetherby for the West Yorkshire Hurdle. He is ready to run but the ground is key. Dodging Bullets will go for the Haldon Gold Cup.

"Ptit Zig might go back to Auteuil on November 5 then he go for the Long Walk Hurdle, but he wants it to be soft there.

"Adrien Du Pont could also go out to Auteuil for a four-year-old Grade One later in November.

"Diego Du Charmil will have an entry in the Greatwood, but we might also have a look at that race at Haydock. Nothing is set in stone though. I don't think he will go for the Elite Hurdle as we have others like Zubayr for that.

"Irish Saint won't run anywhere until it rains, but he will be out before Christmas. He could go to Ascot at the end of the month for the valuable handicap chase there or something like the Badger Ales (at Wincanton).

"Vicente might go for the three-and-a-half-mile mile race at the November Cheltenham meeting or he could go to for the three-mile Intermediate Chase at Sandown next month.

"The National is his target as he is rated 151. For a horse like him, the better races are after Christmas."

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