Nicky Richards is at a loss to explain why Simply Ned comes alive at Leopardstown as he begins to prepare the veteran for next month’s Dublin Chase.
Fresh from his latest big-race success, when he flew home to beat Footpad over Christmas, the 12-year-old appears better than ever.
“It was absolutely fantastic – and he won it on merit, fair and square,” said Richards.
“He’s a great old horse. He doesn’t know he’s a 12-year-old, and it’s happy days.
“He’ll go back there now in February. I’ve no idea why he seems to love it over there – it was the same with Monet’s Garden and Aintree. I don’t know if the races fall at the right time or what – but we’re having a lot of fun, whatever.
“The only pity is that he’s 12 – so we’ll have to look for another – but he’s not done with yet, I know that.”
Richards is also planning on taking Guitar Pete to Ireland, which will be a return for the grey who used to be trained by Dessie and Sandra Hughes.
“I haven’t discussed it with Mr Sloan (owner), but I was half-thinking he could go to Leopardstown,” said Richards.
“The original plan was the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. But the Leopardstown race (Chanelle Pharma Handicap Chase) is worth 25,000 euro more this year, so it’s 125,000 euro now – that’s some money.
“I’ll talk to the owner, and at some stage we’ll try three miles. They’ve just done him for toe the last twice at Cheltenham, before he runs on like a lion up the hill.
“He’s grand for me, he turns up on the big days and never lets you down.
“Dessie was convinced he didn’t get three miles, but he’s older now and he’s running like he needs it.”