WHAT does a horse have to do? That must be the question Paul Nicholls is asking after Silviniaco Conti proved his detractors wrong by pummeling his rivals into submission at Kempton to confirm himself the leading staying chaser in Britain.

He’s been predictably shortened up in the betting for the Gold Cup itself, but ask any assembled group of racing aficionados whether he represents a solid bet in March, and most will demur, usually with a warning about his “poor Cheltenham record”.