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Simonsig Strengthens his Grip on Arkle Trophy Favouritism

Nicky Henderson has an embarrassment of equine riches on his hands at the moment with the likes of Long Run, Darla, Sprinter Sacre and Bob’s Worth, but his Simonsig will be a banker for many Cheltenham betting tips punters at March’s festival after putting up another stunning performance when running away with the Grade 2 Novices Chase at Kempton Park’s Christmas meeting, writes Elliot Slater.

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Winner of both his races over fences, the grey proved himself a high-class hurdler last season in beating Felix Yonger by seven-lengths in the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and followed up by winning in similar company at Aintree a few weeks later, but most observers believe that he already has what it takes to go to the top of the tree over the larger obstacles.

Jumping like an old hand the gelded son of Fair Mix barely put a hoof wrong when leaving a lasting impression on his chasing bow at Ascot on December 21 where he was hardly out of second gear in beating Sulpius by 49 lengths in the Grade 2 Betfred Novices Chase. Henderson took the view that the ‘race’ had really been little more than a public gallop and duly chose to run Simonsig just six days later in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices Chase where once again Simonsig was nothing less than imperious in beating Hinterland by 25-lengths in the manner of a potential superstar.

Available at 2/1 in Betfair horseracing markets for the Grade 1 Racing Post Arkle Chase at Cheltenham on March 12 prior to his Kempton stroll, Henderson’s imposing young chaser is now a best-priced 5/4 chance to win the two-mile novice chasing championship, and judging by his performances so far it will take a real surprise package or an uncharacteristic blunder to deny him the title.


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