Henderson duo close in on Killarney
Nicky Henderson is considering giving Finian’s Rainbow and Simonsig surprise appearances at Killarney’s forthcoming three-day meeting.
Finian’s Rainbow could go for the Leane’s Tool Hire & Lawnmowers Chase over an extended two and a half miles on Sunday, while Simonsig is to be given an entry in a two-and-a-half-mile hurdle on Monday.
The former Cheltenham Festival winners have been on the sidelines for some time.
Simonsig was last seen winning the Arkle Trophy in March 2013 but a splint injury caused the talented grey to miss the 2013-14 season.
Several setbacks since then thwarted Henderson’s plans to bring him back during the last campaign.
Finian’s Rainbow, who lifted the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2012, has been absent since he struck into himself in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November 2013.
“Conditions of that race at Killarney do augur well for Finian’s, and Simonsig is also going to be entered there on Monday,” said the Seven Barrows trainer.
“I won’t say Simonsig will definitely run but he’s going to be entered in a conditions race over hurdles.
“It is just possible one or the two could go. It will depend on the ground.”
Connections of easy Prix Greffulhe winner Sumbal have not completely ruled out supplementing the unbeaten colt for the Ivestec Derby after his stroll to victory at Saint-Cloud.
If the ground was to come up soft in the days leading up to the Epsom Classic then the Francis Graffard-trained three-year-old could still be involved on the Downs.
However, his task in the Group Two Greffulhe, which has produced a winner of the Derby and the French equivalent in recent years, was made much easier after the red-hot favourite Epicuris, who holds an Epsom entry, began to act up in the paddock and refused to enter the stalls.
The colt now needs to pass a stalls test before he is allowed to run again, which could be as soon as Sunday in the Prix Hocquart at Longchamp.
Epicuris’ defection left only three runners and Sumbal’s jockey Andrea Atzeni was happy to take a lead from Kouros Jelois, who set just a steady pace. Sumbol, who was supplemented for the Greffulhe, quickened impressively in the soft ground and maintained his unbeaten record for Graffard and owners Qatar Racing.