Nicky Richards will keep Simply Ned going as long as his stable stalwart continues to show his admirable enthusiasm for racing.
So far the veteran of 43 races, Simply Ned – who turns 13 on New Year’s Day – retains his career-long competitive appetite and has come out of his latest visit to Leopardstown in fine form.
Ridden by Mark Walsh, he was fourth to A Plus Tard in his bid to win last week’s Paddy Power-sponsored two-mile-one-furlong Grade One for the third successive year.
“He’s grand – he didn’t disgrace himself,” said Richards.
“I just felt they didn’t go very strong the first half of the race, and he needs a real end-to-end gallop.
“Mark felt the ground was very holding in the closing stages and he was struggling to get his feet out of it and pick up.
“He wasn’t hard on him. He gave him a super ride and looked after him.”
The Greystroke trainer will give Simply Ned time to recover from his exertions before pressing on again.
“We’ll set the dust settle and see what the weather does,” he said.
“I know he’s going to be 13, and it’s going to be a fair ask to keep asking him at Grade One level, but he doesn’t think he’s that age.
“His Cheltenham run (in the Shloer Chase) was good, and he didn’t run too badly the other day.
“There are no signs to say he’s gone or not enjoying it. He wings fences and he travels beautifully.
“We’ll take it race by race, and he’ll tell us. As soon as he gives us those sort of signs, we’ll draw stumps with him. We’ll just see how he comes out of this.”
Should Simply Ned remain in good form, Richards will consider taking him back to Ireland the Dublin Chase.
“He may go back to Leopardstown in early February,” he said.
“If he’s grand we’ll go back and have another crack. If he doesn’t feel like it, we’ll keep him wrapped up all winter and see how he’s going.”