December 26, 2014

KEMPTON, England (AP) Silviniaco Conti cruised to victory in the King George VI Chase for the second straight year on Friday, taking the lead early and producing a brilliant display of jumping to win by about six lengths.

The 15-8 favorite gave trainer Paul Nicholls a record-extending ninth win in the prestigious race, which is one of the highlights of the British jumps-racing calendar.

Jockey Noel Fehily pushed Silviniaco Conti in front at the start of the race to make it a test of stamina in gloomy conditions at Kempton Park - and his nine rivals never came close to reeling him in.

''He was very good,'' said Nicholls, who trained the great Kauto Star to five wins in the King George VI Chase. ''He jumped well, he just gallops and stays. That was our plan - to make it a test as he's really fit.''

After Silviniaco Conti soared over the next-to-last fence to pull even further away, it was simply a race for second and Dynaste stayed on well to finish ahead of Al Ferof, one of Nicholls' three runners.

Silviniaco Conti's next test is likely to be the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, the No. 1 jumps race in Britain.

''I think he's proved today what a very good horse he is, whatever the ground,'' Fehily said. ''He did it the hard way, he went a real good gallop.''

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