sport

Conti features in Denman nine

Leading Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Silviniaco Conti could face up to eight rivals in Saturday's Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury.

The three-mile Grade Two, which now carries the name of Silviniaco Conti's former Gold Cup and dual Hennessy-winning stablemate, was reopened for 24 hours on Monday after failing to attract enough entries.

Silviniaco Conti was a top novice last season and has taken his game to another level this season, running away with the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his seasonal return before beating former Gold Cup hero Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls suggested afterwards his seven-year-old could head straight for the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Nicky Henderson revealed on Monday that Long Run would not be lining up at Newbury as initially planned, but the Seven Barrows handler may still be represented, with Master Of The Hall engaged.

Last year's Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster ran well behind Silviniaco Conti at Haydock and could renew rivalries, but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He also has the option of running in a handicap at Warwick on Saturday.

Peterborough Chase winner Menorah could tackle three miles for the first time for Philip Hobbs and French recruit Mail De Bievre is an interesting possible runner for Tom George.

The entries are completed by Weird Al, Junior, Restless Harry and Little Josh.