Simonsig eases to Kempton Grade 2
Simonsig in action over hurdles
(Healy Racing Photos)
Barry Geraghty opted to give Nicky Henderson's exciting grey the lead in the two mile Grade Two contest registered as the Wayward Lad Novices' Steeple Chase and the pair never saw another rival.
The 1/6 favourite got in a little close to the third fence allowing second favourite Hinterland to close up to about four or five lengths but that was as close as Paul Nicholls' four year old got to the winner.
Simonsig jumped a little out to his left at two fences in the back straight but that was a minor quibble about another impressive performance which saw the six year old win with his head in his chest for the second time in a week.
Henderson said: "You have to be pleased, it was a brave shout to run so quickly - very un-Henderson like, but I wanted to get the practice in.
"He's had a nice school. Hinterland is not a mug, he was giving him 11lb and it wasn't a contest. He will probably have one more run at the end of January.
"Sprinter Sacre ran in the Game Spirit and I wouldn't rule that out (for Simonsig)."
Sky Bet cut the winner to even money from 7/4 for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham with spokesman Michael Shinners commenting: "He looks the real deal, jumps and travels exceptionally well and is clearly the one to beat at Cheltenham."
Paddy Power also go evens about Simonsig for the Arkle (from 6/4).
Forjoethepainter landed a gamble as he provided his trainer Tony Mulholland with his second winner in Ireland when taking the Goggin Buckley Engineering Handicap Hurdle.