Simonsig: had been a leading fancy for the Ryanair Chase at CheltenhamPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Top chaser Simonsig
out for rest of the season
SIMONSIG, winner of the Racing Post Arkle earlier this year, will miss the rest of the season champion trainer Nicky Henderson revealed on Friday.
Owned by Ronnie Bartlett, Simonsig had been ruled out in October of his intended comeback in the William Hill King George VI Chase after developing a splint on his near-fore.
Henderson said on Friday that the splint injury had cleared up but that there was too much risk bringing him back for the second half of the season.
He said: "He will miss the rest of this season in his own interest to make sure he's 100 per cent for the next.
"It's all to do with a splint that flared up earlier on and that's why we took out the earlier part of the season. The fracture line on the splint has gone and he's sound but there's too much of a risk involved.
"A lot of experts have been staring at x-rays and it's healed but there is a risk something could go so we are going to keep him in light exercise until the spring, turn him out in the summer and bring him back ready for the King George next year."
Unbeaten in three starts over fences, Simonsig had been around a 5-1 chance for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and 25-1 for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Henderson added: "In my experience this is an injury that doesn't happen very often. Thousands of horses have splints without a problem and it's typical that it is him that gets it. It could easily be perfectly all right but we don't want to take the risk."