Mag­nif­i­cent op­por­tu­nity

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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