The 12th March 2013 was the last time racegoers were able to see the exciting grey chaser Simonsig in action when the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding landed odds of 8-15 to claim the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, retaining his unbeaten record over fences in the process, since when the injury-prone son of Fair Mix has been on the sidelines for one reason or another, but next Tuesday could see the horse make his much-anticipated comeback run in Exeter’s Grade 2 Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup.
One of 15 possibles for the 2m 1f 109y Limited Handicap chase, the nine-year-old faces no easy introduction if connections allow him to take his chance, with the potential opposition including 2014 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy who is expected to feature among the final field, of which trainer Gary Moore said in his Betway blog: “The plan is very much to kick off his campaign in the Haldon Gold Cup as long as the ground stays soft. The race looks the ideal starting point for him and, unless it dramatically dries up everywhere, that’s where he’ll start. I don’t really like looking too far ahead, but the obvious next target for us after Exeter would be the Tingle Creek at Sandown.”
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls could be represented by the enigmatic Mr Mole and/or last season’s talented novice Vibrato Valtat while last year’s winner God’s Own is expected to attempt back-to-back renewals for his handler Tom George. Court Minstrel, a shock winner of Chepstow’s Silver Trophy over hurdles last time could revert back to the bigger obstacles for trainer Evan Williams. Other interesting possible contenders include Melodic Rendezvous, Sgt Reckless and Third Intention.