IT may take something of a leap of faith to stick with Simply Ned but it can prove a most rewarding risk in the NSPCC School Service Handicap Chase at Kelso.
Nicky Richards’ charge is going for a hat-trick in this two-mile-one-furlong event and while he appears to be the class act on paper, Simply Ned hardly boasts the most inspiring recent record.
The nine-year-old won this race on his return in 2015 but was then stepped right up in company to take on Sprinter Sacre in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
Having finished second to Uxizandre in the race in 2014, he was rated the biggest threat to Sprinter Sacre but he failed to fire at all and was well beaten in fourth.
He bounced back when second in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas but Richards must surely have been a bit disappointed as Simply Ned looked a likely winner before being reeled back in at the line.
Simply Ned then fell well short behind Un De Sceaux at Ascot and could not take advantage of what looked an ideal opportunity when sent off favourite for a Grade Two at Naas, finding nothing for pressure despite being favoured by the weights.
He rounded off with another lacklustre run when pulled up at Kelso in April and connections suggested a long season had perhaps just taken its toll in the end.
Refreshed from a summer break, Simply Ned will hopefully be in the right frame of mind and prove up to the task of conceding just short of a stone or more all round.
Mister Miyagi can get his season off to a good start in the Cathy Midgley Racing To School Intermediate Hurdle.
A three-time winner last term, his only defeat came when tried in Grade One company in the Supreme at Cheltenham where he finished a fine sixth behind Altior.
While he proved no match for the main contenders that day, Mister Miyagi’s effort was certainly laudable and after being dropped a little in class to win back at Cheltenham on his final start of the year, his confidence should still be riding.