Nicky Richards is biding his time with Ribble Valley after deciding to forego a trip to Kelso this week with his highly-promising hurdler.
The prospect of testing ground at the Borders track convinced the Greystoke trainer to avoid even entering the seven-year-old in Saturday’s Grade Two William Hill Premier Novices’ Hurdle.
Ribble Valley has not raced since suffering his first defeat over hurdles at Ascot in December, and Richards will wait until conditions improve to before running him again.
He aims to give Ribble Valley a prep outing, however, before his main spring target – the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in April.
“We half got in our head if it was going to be too soft at Kelso we wouldn’t even bother to think about running him,” said Richards.
“He’s grand and hopefully he’ll get a couple of nice runs on a bit better ground.
“We’ve just got to get this weather out of the way.
“He may well run with a double penalty somewhere in a novice hurdle, and then it might be Aintree, so we’ve got a bit of time on our hands for that.”