David Maxwell expecting better of Saint Calvados in Silviniaco Conti Chase

Saint Calvados owner-rider David Maxwell is expecting the Silviniaco Conti Chase on Saturday at Kempton to suit his ten-year-old better than his last outing.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Grade 2 winner proved much too keen when making his first appearance for Maxwell in the two-runner Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot in November.

"The hood will quieten him down and I imagine he'll be less strong with a few more runners - he needs a bit of cover," said Maxwell.

"He's nice, but I must admit I was a bit surprised by how strong he was when I rode him at Ascot. This should suit him a bit better, he should get a decent pace and I think he'll go well.

"I'm just going to steer round tucked in third or fourth and see how we go, but I think he'll go well and obviously Paul's horses are in great form."

Nicholls will be looking to win the Kempton contest for the third time.

The Ditcheat handler has been in unstoppable form of late and could add further big-race Saturday success with Pic D'Orhy who heads the betting for the two-and-a-half-mile contest.

The seven-year-old won the Pendil Novices' Chase over course and distance last season and made it two from two for the current campaign when making all to land the Peterborough Chase in fine style at Huntingdon last month.

"He wouldn't want the ground going too soft, but he won the Peterborough as he liked last time, beating a sensible field at Huntingdon," said the champion trainer's stable jockey, Harry Cobden.

"I know he's not the highest-rated horse in the world, but I think he's still improving actually.

"He's just turned eight and he's got a bit of scope to improve.

"The betting has got it right on form - he's got to be the one to beat, I think."

Fergal O'Brien's Paint The Dream was an emphatic 14-length winner at Newbury when last sighted, a victory that makes him highest-rated runner in the field.

Tom George's course winner Clondaw Castle was second in this contest two years ago and drops back in trip having failed to land a blow when swimming in deep waters in the Betfair Chase, while the six-strong line-up is rounded off by Angels Breath, who makes his stable debut for Sam Thomas following 1,121 days off the track.

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