Turf Talk: Nicky won’t necessarily give Ned the nod for the Queen Mother Champion Chase

Nicky Richards
Nicky Richards
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Nicky Richards may skip the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Simply Ned this season.

The eight-year-old appeared set to be the beneficiary of Un De Sceaux’s fall in the the Grade One two-mile chase at Leopardstown on Monday but was caught late on by Flemenstar.

A trip back to Ireland could beckon next, or Newbury for the Game Spirit Chase.

“He’s always been the type of horse who doesn’t like being in front too long and it was a case of being thrown in the deep blue ocean,” said RIchards.

“What could Brian (Harding) have done? If he’d been sat in third tracking Flemenstar I’m sure he’d have won, but Brian said if Un De Sceaux hadn’t have fallen we’d have been second at worst.

“Even if Flemenstar had come at him earlier, he would have fought back because when the loose horse came at him he went again.

“He’s such a grand horse, so consistent and doesn’t get the credit he deserves. If anything I think he punches a little above his weight taking on all these Grade One horses, yet people say he has been found wanting.

“Flemenstar was the big thing three years ago and they reckon that was the first time they’ve had him right since. “There used to be a valuable handicap at Doncaster which would have been perfect for him, but it’s been scrapped.

“Our thinking now is that all the big boys will be heading to Cheltenham – Un De Sceaux, Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets – so we might just give it a miss this year.

“You’re not just taking on one champion, you’d be taking on four or five. We’ll either go to Naas for a Grade Two in February or the Game Spirit next.”

Yesterday saw Nichols Canyon show all the old battling qualities of his former stablemate Hurricane Fly to win the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.