Simonsig So Impressive in Mersey Hurdle
1 Simonsig 4/9F
Nicky Henderson’s abundance of riches bears few of greater potential than his six-year-old grey Simonsig, who races in the colours of Ronnie Bartlett, the Scottish potato merchant.
Today he trounced a Grade 2 field in the John Smith’s Novices’ Hurdle as easily as he had those who took him on in Neptune Investment Management Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Henderson said: “He’s pretty good isn’t he? He was just a bit disappointing at Sandown when beaten by Fingal Bay, and while that is a very good horse we looked like we were set to beat him at the second-last. We gave him a break and started again and he’s been real class since then.
“I would have thought that’s his last run over hurdles, but we’ve got a long summer to think about that.
“He saw this trip out [2m 4f], but if we were to send him over fences it would definitely be over two miles. As Ronnie said ‘let’s just enjoy it’. With Darlan [who won yesterday’s Grade Two Tangle Teezer Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree] and him there are decisions to be made.”
Winning jockey Barry Geraghty said: “He’s as good as he looks - he does everything so easily they were going too slowly for him today. He missed one or two, especially the second-last, and I would say that really he wants to jump a fence.
“He’s a real chaser, and while he can jump hurdles well enough he can be a little careless and I think he would have more respect for fences.
“Nicky has a beautiful bunch of horses. I think that this lad will be very good over fences and obviously Finian’s Rainbow has done what he has done and Sprinter Sacre is doing what he is doing. It’s a great position to be in.”
Simonsig’s half-brother Simarthur, who won his first Irish point-to-point on Monday for breeder Simon Tindall, is being offered for sale at Brightwells’ Cheltenham venue next Wednesday evening as Lot 51a.
SUPER ROUND FOR RUNNER-UP
Donald McCain was delighted with Super Duty’s front-running effort in the John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, in which he capitulated only to Simonsig.
McCain said: “He missed the second-last and if not for that he’d have been clear second. He would have been as close to Simonsig as anything’s been this year.
“We’ve been waiting to get him out because he’s such a big baby and even going round out there he was pricking his ears a bit. I think that will be it for him now for this season.
“He’s just keeps finding and he’s a lovely prospect. I run his full-brother [Howaboutnow] in the last so I hope he runs as well as this one.”
PUNCHESTOWN COULD BE NEXT FOR BABY SHINE
Lucy Wadham was delighted with Baby Shine’s third in the John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle and the Newmarket handler is now considering Punchestown for the six-year-old.
Wadham said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with Baby Shine. We were hopeful of a big run, but obviously she hasn’t really been tested before so we were a bit in the dark. She has always shown a lot of ability in her races - a lot more than she does at home.
“We will see how she is in the next couple of days, but we might go to Punchestown with her and run in the mares’ hurdle over two miles and two furlongs. I think she is a stayer and she will get three miles in time but the drop back in trip against her own sex won’t matter too much.
“We will think about going over fences next year, but we could mix and match a bit as there is such a good programme for mares over hurdles.”
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