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Henderson getting ready to give Simonsig his chasing debut

Nicky Henderson is biding his time before unleashing top hurdler Simonsig over fences.

The Seven Barrows handler had suggested the exciting grey could make his chasing debut at Newbury, but he's not quite primed for the task.

"He's not quite ready for this weekend, we'll see him in about a fortnight," Henderson revealed of the runaway Cheltenham winner which is already favourite for the Arkle Chase.

Captain Conan, which impressed on his recent debut over fences at Cheltenham, will take his next step up the ladder in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown next weekend.

A belated reappearance from injury-hit 2009 Champion Hurdler Punjabi, also expected to go chasing, should come soon. "I had him entered this week, but I wasn't going to risk him on this ground," said the trainer.

The participation of the yard's Hennessy Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth in Saturday's big race will not be confirmed until Henderson has spoken with connections having walked the course yesterday afternoon. The trainer is worried about potentially heavy ground and wants some time to mull over his thoughts.

A dual Cheltenham Festival winner, Bobs Worth has not been seen since beating First Lieutenant in the RSA Chase last March.

"We're nervous about it (the ground) and I can't just make a decision," he said. "I'd have to say there's an element of doubt. I'll walk the course and then talk to the owners.

"The gallops here are as soft as I've ever seen, but he has been very happy up the grass and worked today.

"He won't go for the King George, but I will make an entry for the Lexus over Christmas, as they sometimes get decent ground at Leopardstown."

Henderson's other entry, the Irish recruit and recent Ascot winner Roberto Goldback, will not be running.

Meanwhile, Big Buck's will face a maximum of seven rivals at Newbury as he seeks to win the Long Distance Hurdle for the fourth year running on Saturday.

Paul Nicholls' charge is unbeaten in 17 races since he returned to hurdles after unseating Sam Thomas in the Hennessy at the track in 2008.

This Grade Two contest has been the starting point every season since and the nine-year-old is set to make his seasonal reappearance there once again. The race was reopened due to insufficient entries and his likely opposition includes stablemate Five Dream.

Alan King has put in Smad Place while Tom George's Crack Away Jack and the Nick Williams-trained Reve De Sivola are useful performers.

Southwell racecourse will be closed for at least a month as repairs are carried out to damage caused by recent flooding at the 'all-weather' venue.

Irish Independent