- Horse Racing
Simonsig slaughters Wayward Lad rivals
Simonsig continued his climb up the fencing ladder with an effortless success in the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton.
The grey is held in the highest regard by the all-conquering Nicky Henderson stable and just a week after making a facile chasing bow at Ascot, he produced a similarly impressive effort but against far better opposition.
Barry Geraghty was gifted a four-length lead from flagfall and the jockey never saw another rival aboard Simonsig. Hinterland is no slouch, in fact he is a decidedly useful novice and he jumped superbly, but he was no match for the winner.
Hinterland was the only horse to give chase to Simonsig, but he was burned off long before the turn for home.
Simonsig fenced fluently, occasionally spectacularly and sometimes cleverly, and he was allowed to freewhell home up the Kempton straight to justify long odds-on favouritism.
"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," Henderson said. "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."
Menorah handed connections of Captain Chris some compensation for their agonising King George VI Chase defeat, as he produced a powerful display to land the Peterborough Chase.
Richard Johnson anchored his mount towards the rear of the field before making ground down the back straight. An injection of pace turning out of the back straight had his rivals in trouble and he took the final three fences in accurate fashion to hold the rallying Hunt Ball.
Owner Graham Whateley said of Menorah: "I'm delighted, I knew he was in good condition, Philip said he'd never looked better. He jumped one fence very big but pinged the rest.
"We'd always aimed for the Peterborough, even when it was at Huntingdon, then Exeter and we're very pleased to see him win at Kempton. Everyone is asking if he is going to go to the Ryanair, but I never like to make any plans - the most important thing is to get him back home and see how he is tomorrow."
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh claimed the Desert Orchid Chase as Sanctuaire bounced back to form in style. Having been beaten pointless by the mighty Sprinter Sacre last time out, Sanctuaire showed his true colours with a brilliant win.
Jumping is Sanctuaire's forte and he again fenced superbly. He has headed turning for home by Wishfulll Thinking, but Ruby Walsh had plenty in reserve and took the up the running headed towards the second last. Spring-heeled leaps at the second last and the final saw him power clear.
It was a second win on the card for Nicholls and Walsh who took the opener with Irish Saint.