Simonsig Sizzles Before Cheltenham Festival

Leading Arkle Chase contender Simonsig confirmed his favouritism for the race with an excellent performance during trackwork yesterday.

Trainer Nicky Henderson took Simonsig and his other Cheltenham Festival contenders to Newbury for the day but was forced to return to his home base after a frost meant the track was unusable.

The temporary setback didn’t bother Simonsig who delighted Henderson with his work.

“Simonsig was simply fantastic, he was some sight in full flow,” Henderson said.

“He is always a flashy worker here; he’s breathtaking.”

Simonsig is odds-on favourite to capture his second Cheltenham Festival victory after scoring in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle last year.

The son of Fair Mix is undefeated since December 2011; winning the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, Betfred Novices’ Chase and William Hill Novices’ Chase in 2012.

Owner Albert Bartlett is confident in his horse’s ability but maintains there is no such thing as a certainty in racing.

“People keep telling me it’s a two-horse race [with Overturn] but it’s never as simple as that,” Bartlett told The Telegraph.

“When we bought Simonsig we thought he’d be good, but no one in their wildest dreams thought he’d be this good.

“Every horse you buy you hope is the real deal but 99 times out of 100 they’re not.”

Champion Hurdle contender Grandouet was also put through his paces by Henderson but failed to impress as much as his fancied stablemate.

“By the look of things, Grandouet probably needed this work more than the others,” Henderson said.

“I’ll probably do a little bit more with him and a few others here on Friday.

“It’s too late by then to be having away-days to a racecourse.”

Simonsig is currently priced at odds of 4/6 in the Arkle Chase betting market at Bet365 Bet365 while Grandouet is on the fourth line of Champion Hurdle betting at odds of 6/1.

You can get the best odds for the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Bet365 Bet365.

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