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Simonsig may be the supposed banker to oppose in Arkle at Cheltenham

| 10.01.2013

Every year at the Cheltenham Festival punters can bank on at least one of the well-backed, short-priced favourites getting turned over and Simonsig may be the horse to oppose this time around.

Last March, Hurricane Fly was sent off at 4/6 but was only third in the Champion Hurdle, while Sizing Europe was also odds-on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase when second to Finian’s Rainbow.

Back in 2011, Cue Card, So Young, Poquelin and Master Minded were all sent off at 2/1 or shorter and beaten, while Dunguib and Master Minded again had to settle for places in 2010 when odds-on.

Quevega and Sprinter Sacre are odds-on this year, but look the most bombproof of the Cheltenham entrants, which is not something that can be said of Simonsig.

Simonsig is two from two since switching to fences and was highly impressive when bounding away from the talented Hinterland at Kempton’s Xmas meeting.

However, a price of 4/5 does look on the short side, given that he is up against at least three opponents who have equally unblemished records.

Captain Conan is next in the Arkle betting at 5/1 but may be sent elsewhere at Cheltenham as like Simonsig, he is trained by Nicky Henderson.

Although Captain Conan does not have the speed of his stablemate, his pure size should give him an edge at the fences and if conditions at the Festival are on the softer side, he could make it a real stamina test.

Overturn is 7/1 and was higher rated than Simonsig over hurdles having taken second behind Rock On Ruby in the Champion Hurdle in March.

He is another who will sort out a strong gallop up front and may have a speed edge.

Finally, Arvika Ligeonneire heads the Irish challenge at 7/1 and has been impressive in mopping up some Grade One contests at home.

The only problem is that he has shown a tendency to edge right at his fences and assuming this is corrected before Cheltenham, he is a serious player.

Sprinter Sacre was only the second favourite to win the Arkle in 11 years in March and so it is not typically a race that favours the market leader.

Simonsig does look a worthy favourite, but the better value does look on his leading opposition, especially if backed each-way.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.