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Horse Talk: Simonsig can lift spirits after a tragic week

09:00 07 February 2013

Simon Jackson, racing columnist for the Ham & High series, gives tips and advice on upcoming races

Simon Jackson, racing columnist for the Ham & High series, gives tips and advice on upcoming races

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Arkle favourite Simonsig is fancied to win at Newbury on Saturday and brighten a wretched week for trainer Nicky Henderson following the death of Darlan at Doncaster.

The Henderson team were left distraught at Town Moor on Monday after Darlan, second favourite for this year’s Champion Hurdle, suffered a fatal fall at the last fence when challenging eventual winner Rock On Ruby.

“Sad day for all the team, Dad and AP [McCoy – jockey] both very upset/emotional after today. A tragic loss,” tweeted Henderson’s daughter Camilla, a sports consultant and amateur jockey. “Truly gutting and heart wrenched. Words cannot describe this sad loss.”

The Henderson camp will be hoping for markedly better luck in the Grade 2 Betfair Super Saturday Chase at Newbury with the classy Simonsig, who has won seven of his eight starts, including the 2012 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Simonsig, currently best priced at 4-5 (Bet365) for the two-mile Arkle chase on March 12, has been in superb form. He returned with a 49-length victory on heavy ground at Ascot on December 21 and followed that up with an equally impressive success, easing to a 35-length victory on heavy ground at Kempton six days later.

Already the winner of over £163,000 in prize money, Simonsig is fancied to prove too strong for his rivals on the forecast soft to heavy ground.

Simon Jackson is a freelance racing journalist based in north west London. He can be reached at jacksonsports1@yahoo.co.uk for press and PR enquiries, or racing/betting related news stories and features.

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