Ludlow debut on Wednesday for half-sister to Simonsig
Simon Tindall's homebred is by Yeats and trained by Nicky Henderson
All eyes at will be at Ludlow on Wednesday afternoon when Simonia, a half-sister to the late Simonsig, makes her debut in a mares' bumper for trainer Nicky Henderson and her owner-breeder Simon Tindall.
Simonia is the eighth foal out of the winning Terimon mare Dusty Too and is a half-sister to four winners including Simarthur, Drumcliff and Simone. But it is the exploits of a former champion in Grade 1 hero Simonsig that means her pedigree catches the eye in this contest.
Like her elder sibling she is trained by Henderson, who masterminded the biggest victories of Simonsig's career when he landed the Neptune Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle at the 2012 and 2013 Cheltenham festivals respectively.
Tragedy struck at Cheltenham in November 2016 when the ten-year-old son of Fair Mix was fatally injured in a fall on the same day another of Henderson's superstars, Sprinter Sacre, was retired.
The five-year-old mare is a daughter of Coolmore National Hunt sire Yeats, who has been in a rich vein of form in recent days with his daughter Shattered Love scooping the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown last Friday.
After her victory, he supplied another four winners in Innisfree Lad, Sir Will, Air Navigator and Brave Eagle to round off 2017 on a winning note. The 17-year-old son of Sadler's Wells has also supplied Grade 1 heroine Augusta Kate and looks to have an exciting prospect in Gordon Elliott's Mossback.
Simonia's elder siblings have all posted strong runs in recent months with Drumcliff, a seven-year-old son of Presenting, landing a handicap chase at Wincanton in November and the Lucinda Russell-trained Simone, a six-year-old daughter of Presenting, who was runner-up in a mares' maiden hurdle at Musselburgh in the same month.
Simonia will face ten rivals in the two-mile contest and she has the chance to perhaps repeat the feat Simonsig achieved nearly seven years ago when winning on his first start for Henderson.