Nicky Richards’ stable stalwart pushed the up-and-coming Sceau Royal all the way when finishing second for the third time in the Shloer Chase, on what was his fifth consecutive appearance in the Grade Two contest over two miles.
All roads lead to Ireland next month for the Grade One feature, which Simply Ned was awarded in the stewards’ room 12 months ago after going down by half a length to Min.
“He’ll go to Leopardstown at Christmas. That’s the usual route we go. We’ll be there again,” said Richards.
“It’s great when you get a horse like him, and the races are set in stone. That’s the next stop, hopefully.”
The Greystoke trainer was delighted with Simply Ned’s run on Sunday, and was surprised he was sent off the 28-1 outsider of the six runners.
“He ran some race. I hope he keeps drifting it in the betting every time he runs like that. We can win a few quid!” he said.
“He had a little canter this morning and he’s been out in the field. He’s absolutely fine.”
Richards will send Guitar Pete back to Cheltenham for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup he won last December, after he finished with a flourish to claim third place behind Baron Alco in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday.
“He ran a grand race. I think the ground was just on the sharper side. Ideally he wants a bit of soft ground, but he just couldn’t get to the front two,” he said.
“Never mind, he ran a great race – and I hope it will set him up for when he goes back there in December.
“It’s great if you’ve got a horse that likes Cheltenham, and one that’s good enough when you get there. That’s half the secret.”