NICKY RICHARDS had slowed things up at his Greystoke Stables in Penrith in October when his horses were not run up to expectations but normal has been resumed from an amiable trainer who knows exactly which table his team of horse should be served at.
With the likes of Eduard and Simply Ned he has chasers who can compete against the best wherever the venue and he has plenty of younger chasers and hurdlers making suitable inroads in their careers.
Nicky has already notched up 19 winners from only 97 runners and after pulling the plug has had two winners in the past eight days from only seven runners with One For Hocky leading a 1-2 in the handicap hurdle at Kelso on Sunday.
Richards said: "The horse were picking up lovely and then started coughing and we had to slow right up but they are just starting to come out of it and we have a few runners. It's quite depressing when it happens but it is only thing you can do and if you carry on with them you could ruin the horses.
"Thankfully, I have some lovely owners and hopefully our patience will pay dividends as the season carries on."
Nicky kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about his hopes for the coming months.
6 ch g Beneficial - Glacier Lilly
126 rated hurdler. Winner of three of his four starts this season and went clear on the run in when beating Tree Of Liberty ten lengths in a novices' hurdle at Kelso (2m 6 1/2f) on latest start in November.
"He's a nice horse and won his two bumpers and put in a couple of good runs over hurdles last year and then ran into a few problems. Hopefully, we have got them ironed out and he is making headway now in his life and won three novice hurdles. He is probably going to run in a handicap at Bangor on Friday and hopefully he is still well handicapped and we'll work away from there."
8 b g Gold Well - Ballyboker Lady
130 rated chaser. Off the mark over fences on his chasing bow in a handicap at Perth (3m) in April when beating Florida Calling three quarters of a length off a mark of 125. Runner-up, beaten 21 lengths, to Seldom Inn in a novices' chase at Kelso (2m 7 1/2f) on his reappearance in October.
"He is not a bad sort of horse who belongs to Paul and Clare Rooney. He won nicely up at Perth and then gave him a Summer break. He came back at Kelso and ran in a novice chase which is probably working out quite well. He has only had a couple of runs over fences so I am trying to get him educated a little bit without putting him in at the deepend too quickly. He might go to Bangor on Friday and I think he could be a progressive horse. It will be interesting to see how far he goes."
7 br g Winged Love - Cerise De Totes
135 rated hurdler. Winner of his first four hurdles last season culminating in a five length victory from Goodbye Dancer off a mark of 125 in a handicap hurdle at Haydock (2m 7f) in January.
"He is not a bad horse and he had a good winter last year. He went up through the ratings fairly fast and ended up with a fairly high mark of 135. He loves very deep ground and has schooled over fences and, hopefully, December, January and February we will have a lot of fun with him."
8 b g Golan - Beautiful Blue
135 rated chaser. Promising third, beaten 11 lengths, to Viva Steve on his reappearance at Ayr (3m 1/2f) in November off his current mark.
"He's a grand old horse we have had for a little while now. He ran up at Ayr on his seasonal debut and I thought he ran a nice race finishing third. We are toying with the idea of sending him to Leopardstown at Christmas for the Paddy Power."
4 b g Vinnie Roe - Chione
Winner of a bumper at Newcastle in March by four lengths from Blakerigg and runner-up, beaten three and a quarter lengths, to Sam Spinner on his hurdling bow at Newcastle (2m 1/2f) in November.
"He came from Keith Reveley's and is a lovely horse. I ran him at Newcastle and I thought he ran a fine race. He probably wants two and a half miles and softer ground as well. We are just really finding out about him and he's just a big baby. He should have a nice future in front of him."
5 b g Gold Well - Arequipa
Runner-up, beaten six lengths, to Westend Story in a bumper at Huntingdon on Boxing Day last December.
"He ran once last year on Boxing Day at Huntingdon and bumped into a decent horse of Philip Hobbs's. That went onto finish fifth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. I thought we ran a lovely race first time and then we got him home and we had a bit of a setback and I haven't been able to run him since unfortunately. We are now back in nice work with him and he will be ready to run in the next ten days. I will probably run him in a bumper and we will take it from there."
5 b g Presenting - Azalea
Runner-up to now stablemate Bestiarius on his debut in a bumper at Newcastle in March and finished only fifth to Mr Monochrome when favourite for his debut over hurdles at Ayr (2m) in October.
"He ran well on his debut in a bumper at Newcastle and we thought he would run well on his debut over hurdles at Ayr but he just didn't fire. The horses were just not running quite right then but he's a decent sort and can soon make up for that disappointment."
5 b g King's Theatre - Aint Misbehavin
119 rated hurdler. Winner of novice events at Hexham (2m) in April and Perth (2m) in June and runner-up, beaten seven lengths by stablemate One For Hocky on his handicap debut at Kelso on Sunday.
"He's a nice horse and won at Hexham and Perth in the Summer. We gave him a break after and he was having his first run back when second to One For Hocky at Kelso on Sunday. He should soon be going one better in a similar event.
6 b m Gold Well - Ballinmona Wish
120 rated hurdler. Winner of a maiden hurdle at Hexham (2m 7 1/2f) in April and unplaced on her reappearance in a handicap hurdle at Ayr (2m 5 1/2f) in November.
"She didn't run as well as we had expected on her reappearance at Ayr but the horse were not quite right at the time and she is a lot better than she showed then. She has won a point-to-point and we are looking forward to running her in mares' novices chases."
8 b g Morozov - Dinny Kenn
151 rated chaser. Promising fourth, beaten two and three quarter lengths, to Regal Regatta in a Grade 2 Chase at Ascot (2m 5f) on his reappearance in November. Runner-up, beaten a length and a half to Wishful Thinking in the Peterborough Chase in December of 2014 and also excellent fourth to Uxidrande in the Ryanair Chase in 2015.
"He was having his first outing since finishing fourth in the 2015 Ryanair Chase when fourth to Regal Regatta in the Stella Artois Chase at Ascot and he will once again be looking at race like the Ryanair Chase. He still retains all his ability and we are looking forward to see him running in some of those big graded contests."
8 ch m Flemensfirth - Hester Hall
Winner of her only stable start in a beginners chase at Catterick (3m 1f) in December of last year when beating Racing Europe six lengths.
"She is a nice filly and another one who appreciates deeper Winter ground she will stay well and was very impressive in her novice chase. I don't know what mark they are going to give her but, hopefully she will be a mare with whom I can pick up some black type with along the way."
4 b f Presenting - Jigs 'N Reels
Finished fourth on her debut in a bumper at Kelso in November.
"She has had the one run and ran a nice race at Kelso. She runs on Sunday at Carlisle in another mares bumper. I would expect her to improve and would be disappointed if she didn't win a bumper."
9 b g Milan - Friends Of Friends
132 rated hurdler. Finished third, beaten four and a half lengths, to Nordic Nymph on his reappearance in a handicap hurdle at Bangor (2m 7f) in November off his current mark.
"He is a model of consistency and worked his way up to a handicap mark of 132 last season. He won four races and ran a few good races in defeat as well. He has his first run back at Bangor recently and ran a grand race. He will continue to run in three mile staying handicaps and I would hope he would win one a long the way but the handicapper might be taking his toll with him but he is very consistent."
7 b g Gold Well - Different Level
132 rated chaser. Having only his second outing last season when scoring by 13 lengths from Pena Dorada in a handicap chase at Kelso (3m 2f) in May off a mark of 122.
"He's a nice horse who ended up last season with a win at Kelso in a three mile handicap. He's about a fortnight away from running and hopefully he will be running in one of those major handicaps in the Spring time."
ONE FOR HARRY
8 b g Generous - Strawberrry Fool
138 rated hurdler. Successful at Carlisle (2m 4f) and Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) last season and also second, beaten 12 lengths, to Top Notch in the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso (2m 2f) last February.
"He is a good consistent horse and another who wants deep Winter ground but it just hasn't come yet. He will be running as there's a bit of give in the ground."
ONE FOR HOCKY
8 b g Brian Boru - Wire Lady
120 rated hurdler. Having his first outing since July when beating stablemate Caius Marcius 7 lengths in a handicap hurdle at Kelso (2m) on Sunday off his current mark.
"He has been a little injury prone and everything but came back to winning form when leading a 1-2 for us in a handicap hurdle at Kelso on Sunday. He wants two and a half miles on decent ground really and could go on from here if all remains well."
PARC DES PRINCES
10 b/br g Ten Most Wanted - Miss Ora
95 rated hurdler. Unplaced in three handicaps hurdles at Perth (twice) and Bangor this Summer.
He's just an old timer and will keep cracking away at the little country tracks. If I can sneak a win out of him then I will be proud of myself."
5 b g Stowaway - Dolphins View
Winner of a bumper at Ayr in February and runner-up, beaten two and a quarter lengths, to Spiritofthegame in a maiden hurdle at Ayr (2m 4f) in October.
"He is a grand horse who won his bumper last year. I took him back to Ayr for his first run over hurdles and he bumped into one of Dan Skelton's. We finished second and I would expect him to progress and win a race or two up the North and then see where we go. He's a lovely chasing prospect."
5 b g Alflora - Reivers Moon
Winner of his bumper at Carlisle in March.
"He's another who won his bumper last year and was placed in a couple of bumpers. He is a great big horse and whatever he does this year is going to be a big bonus to him. I would say he would win a hurdle race here and there and he will be a lovely chasing horse."
9 ch g Fruits of Love - Bishops Lass
158 rated chaser. Runner-up in both of his starts this season most recently being beaten only nine lengths to Fox Norton in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham (2m) in November.
"He is a grand horse who runs at the top level. He ran a good race first time out at Kelso in a handicap giving lumps of weight away and then he went down to Cheltenham for the Shloer Chase and ran a great race to finish second to what could be a very good horse in Fox Norton. He could go to Leopardstown for the Paddy Power Chase in which he finished second last December and we will keep cracking away."
8 ch m Presenting - Ardrom
105 rated hurdler. Has won her last three starts in handicap hurdles at Hexham (2m 7 1/2f) , Ayr (3m 1/2f) and Newcastle (3m) this Autumn. Scored by a length from Onwiththeparty when gaining latest win off a mark of 98 in November.
"She has won her last three now over the hurdles and is slowly working her way through the handicap ratings. She goes to Doncaster on Friday and she is in grand form and as game as they come. Hopefully, I will win another race or two with her."
STRAIT OF MAGELLAN
4 b g Captain Rio - Golden
Runner-up in both of his starts over hurdles in October, beaten seven lengths to Southport at Market Rasen (2m 1/2f) and by eight length to Master of Finance at Ayr (2m).
"Mr and Mrs Sloan sent him to me last year with a view to being a nice three-year-old/four-year-old hurdler and I gave him one run at Musselburgh and it didn't just work at all. We were a little concerned he just wouldn't make a hurdler but they took him home and gave him a break and he came back looking in cracking shape. They freshened him up lovely and he's had two run at Market Rasen and at Ayr and probably been unlucky to bump into probably a decent horse both times. I would be very disappointed if we haven't won a couple of races with him coming the Spring time and he might be running in a nice little handicap somewhere."
STREAMS OF WHISKEY
9 br g Spadoun - Cherry Tops
130 rated chaser at his best. Not seen out since pulled up at Doncaster (3m 2f) in February 2015.
"He is on his way back from a long time out with injury but he seems to be moving well and going along grand at the moment. I could imagine it will be early January before we get a run into him with a view to going for the Grand National."
7 b g Mountain High - Knocksouna
118 rated hurdler. Best effort last season on his reappearance in novice chase at Bangor (3m) in November 2015 when runner-up, beaten a length, to Blameitallonmyroots.
"He set off last season well in a novice chase and ran well then just went wrong a little bit health wise. I have got him back now and he is another one who wants three miles on soft ground. We are just looking for the right race and we are not far from running."
7 br g Monsun - La Gandilie
127 rated hurdler. Unplaced in handicap hurdles at Perth, Carlisle and Bangor this Autumn
"He has run three times this season and hasn't set the world on fire up to now. Hopefully, the handicapper is relenting and that he redeems himself before long."
6 gr g Near Honor - Noble Gary
128 rated chaser. Progressive last season and scoring for the third time when winning by a length and three quarters from Silver Tassie at Newcastle (2m 4f) in April off a mark of 123.
"He had a good year last year winning three. He's a nice horse and I think he's progressive. He wants soft ground and I took him to Kelso first time out but he unseated at the first. He is about ready to run at Newcastle in two or three weeks time."
ANOTHER BILL ATR Tracker - earlier problems sorted and can continue progressing up the ladder over hurdles.
BESTIARIUS ATR Tracker - runner-up on his hurdling bow at Newcastle and looks the sort to win plenty of races in novice company.
BLAKERIGG ATR Tracker - didn't come up to scratch on his hurdling debut at Ayr but horse were sickening at the time and can soon make amends.
EDUARD ATR Tracker - has plenty of class and can gain a deserved success in good company shortly.
PROGRESS DRIVE ATR Tracker - runner-up on his hurdling bow at Ayr and can soon go one better.
UN NOBLE ATR Tracker - unseated rider at the first at Kelso on his reappearance but can soon make amends before progressing further.