Take note of Richards’ horses at Musselburgh

Nicky Richards
Nicky Richards
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Nicky Richards has his string in fine form and the Cumbria trainer should be worth following when Musselburgh open their National Hunt season tomorrow.

I was at Pontefract last month when the Greystoke handler galloped a whole host of his horses after racing and that has paid off handsomely, for he has sent out 14 runners in the past fortnight with six of them winning.

I reckon Crinkle Crags can boost that tally when he makes his hurdling bow in the Racing UK Subscribers Club Novices Hurdle (1.30).

The chestnut is a half-brother to three winners and took the eye when third in a bumper on his racecourse bow at Haydock back in March.

The four-year-old – who cost 16,000 guineas – was doing all his best work in the closing stages and with that experience behind him, he can open his winning account here.

Richards and stable jockey Brian Harding can complete a double with One for Hocky, who has a choice of two engagements, but is likely to go for the Bet with Your Racing UK App Handicap Hurdle (2.30) over three miles.

The six-year-old was successful at Perth in August, but has been expensive to follow since then, being beaten three times when sent off favourite.

He was a close third at Bangor, then fell at the penultimate flight at Kelso and was a close second on that same track. He may not be the most genuine of customers and wears a hood in the preliminaries, but his Perth victory came over two-and-a-half miles and the step up in trip here could be a big help.

And Winter Alchemy can complete a good day for Richards by taking the Download Racing UK App Handicap Chase (3.30) over three miles. The nine-year-old has a victory over hurdles and fences over this sort of trip, winning over the larger obstacles at Kelso in May and was then placed twice during the summer jumping campaign.

He was returning from a ten week break when weakening into fifth place at Ayr recently, but will be fitter now.

Keith Dalgleish was a decent jockey and is really making his mark since turning to training, with more than 50 winners so far in 2014 and he can take the Watch Racing UK Anywhere Handicap Hurdle (3.00).

The gelding was successful on the level in Germany and France before joining Dalgleish, who saddled him to win over hurdles last spring. The trainer said after the latter success that the horse would not go back onto the flat, so it is interesting to see him entered in the November Handicap, the last big race of the flat season at Doncaster on Saturday.

Nexius is returning from a lengthy summer holiday, but stays two and a half miles well as he showed at Newcastle and if Dalgleish declares him to run on the East Lothian track that would be a tip in itself.

Selections: 1.30 Crinkle Crags; 2.30 One For Hocky; 3.00 Nexius; 3.30 Winter Alchemy