sport

Overturn vying for Simon scalp

Donald McCain is confident Overturn will make life "very difficult" for Simonsig in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy.

Nicky Henderson's Simonsig, so impressive in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival, is odds-on across the board for the two-mile novice championship after resounding victories at Ascot and Kempton.

Winner of a Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate on the level, Overturn also claimed the Fighting Fifth and the Galway Hurdle over timber and was a superb second in last year's Champion Hurdle.

A switch to fences has failed to stifle his progress, with his heart-on-the-sleeve style or racing seeing him rack up victories at Sandown, Doncaster and Musselburgh.

Asked on his thoughts on Simonsig, McCain replied with a smile: "He's been grand, he's been very impressive, but he hasn't been second in a Champion Hurdle, has he?

"We know what Overturn will do. If Simonsig can follow him and go past him then good luck to him, but it's not going to be easy.

"Everything has gone very smoothly for our horse, we've got all the runs in we wanted to get in and we have plenty of time to get him ready.

"We go there with the feeling his style of racing will make it very difficult for the likes of Simonsig.

"We aren't going to have change anything with him, he has his way of doing it and he's done it under all disciplines - Flat, hurdles and fences.

"If someone wants to go quicker, that's fine, it's not an issue.

"He'll go his gallop and I think if he goes there and jumps well and meets everything right, which he has done so far, that makes him an even harder horse to get past, doesn't it?

"We're thoroughly looking forward to it."

McCain admits Overturn's incredible appetite for the game is something he relishes each morning.

"He comes out every day and just makes you smile," said the Cholmondeley-based handler.

"When he ran in the Champion Hurdle last year it's probably the only time I've seen him absolutely shattered, but we brought him out the next day and he wanted to go again - that's just him.

"We take him for granted a little bit because he just comes out every day and does his thing.

"He wouldn't be as good a work horse as Peddlers Cross, but he just has this gallop in him for two miles and, so far, the jumping has gone with it."

McCain feels if Overturn does triumph on the opening day of the Festival, it will be a richly-deserved victory.

"I'd love him to have his big day jumping. He's won his big races on the Flat and the Fighting Fifth over hurdles, but I'd love him to have his really big day. He's earned it," he said.