King George VI Chase: Silviniaco Conti lands Kempton win
Silviniaco Conti finished strongest to give trainer Paul Nicholls an eighth win in the King George VI Chase at Kempton ahead of favourite Cue Card.
The top two had pulled away from the rest of the field and when Cue Card jumped the second last ahead he looked set for victory.
"The most significant part of the King George distances - three-and-a-half lengths between first and second, and 11 between second and third - is the 11.
"Although Silviniaco Conti won jumping's mid-season championship in great style, much of the post-race talk was of whether Cue Card's stamina lasted out the rain-soaked, and, therefore, extra testing three miles.
"I'd say that the front-running Cue Card "stayed" alright, but just not as well as the winner, and that the big distance back to third place backs this up.
"Minus Silviniaco Conti, Cue Card would have been a very fine winner in his own right.
"So hopefully the defeat won't put off those involved with Cue Card from targeting the big end-of-season championship, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, staged, usually, in drier, less-testing conditions in March."
But Joe Tizzard's charge found nothing after that and Noel Fehily kept Silviniaco Conti (7-2) fighting to win.
Nicholls also had the third-placed finisher in Al Ferof.
Bookmakers have now put the seven-year-old as joint favourite with the 2013 winner Bobs Worth for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Fehily paid tribute to the horse who fell in the Gold Cup and returned to action this season with third place behind Cue Card at Haydock in the Betfair Chase.
"I was slow over three out and I thought Joe had got away from me, but this horse is as tough as nails and he's a very good horse," the winning jockey said.
"This is a different track [to Haydock] and I knew my horse would be fitter for this.
"Paul [Nicholls] has done a great job - he told me all week he'd improved from Haydock and he has. It was brilliant. I've not ridden a Gold Cup winner, but I hope he's a Gold Cup horse. This is unbelievable."
Earlier, My Tent Or Yours got the better of The New One on the run in to claim victory in the Christmas Hurdle - a dress rehearsal for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The New One had the upper hand coming to the final flight but made a bad mistake, with Sam Twiston-Davies briefly losing an iron.
That allowed jockey AP McCoy on the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old (11-8) to get the better of the 5-6 favourite on the race to the line and triumph by half a length with Sametegal in third.