Nicky Richards reports Simply Ned in fine shape as he prepares for his latest planned trip to Ireland for the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown on February 2.
The 12-year-old has become a standing dish there, and was second in this same race last winter.
He arguably gave a career-best display to complete back-to-back victories in the Grade One Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase over Christmas, defeating old adversary Footpad by half-a-length in a time three and a half seconds faster than standard.
“He’s in grand fettle. He’s having his usual exercise, worked on Saturday – and everything is going to plan. We’ll give it a go,” said Richards.
“It was a magnificent performance on his behalf, and it was a blistering time – real good time they did that day.
“There was no hiding place. He won it great, and he was the best horse in the race.”
Simply Ned will not be accompanied by stablemate Reivers Lad, after the Greystoke trainer ruled him out of the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase on the same card.
Richards made the decision after Reivers Lad, who made a winning debut over fences at Newcastle last month, missed an intended engagement at Ayr on Sunday.
“I’d say he’ll be fine in a day or two. It’s just that he didn’t eat up for a couple of days,” he said.
“We’ll monitor things, but I’m quite sure there’s nothing greatly to worry about. He’s been out and had a canter. He’s perfectly all right. I’m sure he’ll back in business fairly soon.
“His blood will probably be taken on Tuesday, and we’ll see from there. There are no signs he needs scoping or anything.
“I needed to get Sunday into him if he was going to head for Ireland. He won’t be going there.
“If all goes to plan, we’ll go back to Ayr on February 6 for a handicap chase. He’ll probably have top weight, but that won’t matter. That’s the next plan.”