Nicholls targets King George
Paul Nicholls has five William Hill King George VI Chase entries, headed by Silviniaco Conti, as he bids to repeat last year's win with Kauto Star.
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Whilst Silviniaco Conti impressed in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, Nicholls' two other Saturday winners, Cristal Bonus and Kauto Stone, have been left in at the latest entry stage along with stablemates Al Ferof and Poquelin.
Title rival Nicky Henderson has a strong team for the Boxing Day feature at Kempton headed by 2010 winner Long Run, which also includes the Cheltenham winners Riverside Theatre, Finian's Rainbow and Bobs Worth.
Colin Tizzard's recent Exeter winner Cue Card, the Philip Hobbs' trio Wishfull Thinking, Menorah and Captain Chris, and Mouse Morris' First Lieutenant are other interesting entries, whilst Ireland could also rely on Willie Mullins' current Gold Cup favourite Sir Des Champs as well as Henry De Bromhead's star Sizing Europe.
Other notable entries include Martin Keighley's Champion Court, Nick Williams' For Non Stop, David Pipe's Grands Crus, former Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander and last year's Cheltenham runner-up The Giant Bolster.
Barney Clifford, Kempton's head of racing and clerk of the course, said: "These entries delight us in terms of the depth of quality.
"Kauto Star will be a hard act to follow, but there will be huge support for the popular Long Run as he bids to regain his William Hill King George VI Chase crown.
"And we have the new kids on the block coming through and taking on the established champions - both Cue Card and Grands Crus will be admirable additions to the King George mix.
"The clock is now counting down to one of the most eagerly-anticipated horse races of the year."