Nicky Richards eyeing Punchestown target for Simply Ned

Thu 15 Feb 2018

Simply Ned is unlikely to run again before potentially returning to Ireland for the Punchestown Festival in the spring.

The Nicky Richards-trained 11-year-old claimed the biggest victory of his career in a Grade One at Leopardstown in December, albeit wining the race in the stewards' room after Min was demoted.

He returned to the Foxrock venue for the Coral Dublin Chase earlier this month and while Min turned the tables emphatically, Simply Ned continued his excellent record of having never finished out of the first three in five visits to the track by filling the runner-up spot.

Richards resisted the temptation to enter his charge for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March, but he could run in the Champion Chase at Punchestown the following month.

Richards said: "He seems in nice form. We haven't sat on him since he ran the other week, he's just been lunging and playing around and having an easy time of things.

"If he tells us he's in grand form, he'll probably go to Punchestown in the spring.

"We didn't even enter him for Cheltenham this year. He's been there before and it hasn't worked out and I know there are question marks over one or two of the big boys this year, but Altior looked pretty good the other day, didn't he? I wouldn't be that keen on taking him on every day of the week!

"Our horse is a grand horse and he owes us nothing. We're having plenty of fun with him and hopefully we'll have a bit more at Punchestown."

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