Richards wary of pushing Famous Bridge too far just yet

Nicky Richards is confident Haydock scorer Famous Bridge can keep progressing through the staying ranks, but a lack of chasing experience may put any Grand National ambitions on hold for this season.

The seven-year-old delighted his trainer when enhancing his fencing record to three wins from six appearances at the weekend and the handicapper was equally impressed, raising the gelding 6lb to a new rating of 135.

Richards will now seek out further opportunities for the talented stayer to continue his progression having always been hopeful he would develop into a handy operator.

“He did what we hoped he would do and I thought he did it nicely,” said Richards.

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“He jumped economically and he jumped well down the home straight when he had to and stayed on well. He did everything nicely.

“He’s always looked fairly progressive. Hopefully he is still looking like that.

“I’m not quite sure where he goes next and he’s young for a staying chaser. He will be running in a nice race or two, but I’m not sure where that will be. We won’t be rushing into things, we will have a look at the programme book and take it from there.

“He’s a progressive horse and when you get one like that you want him to run in the little bit better races and we will be stepping up as he goes through the ratings hopefully.”

Famous Bridge runs in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings who was synonymous with Grand National success thanks to the exploits of Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds at Aintree. And given connections, Richards admits that the Liverpool showpiece has entered conversations.

However, the Greystoke handler is unsure whether the stern examination of the National is what Famous Bridge requires at this early stage of his chasing career.

“I’m sure Aintree will be on the agenda at some stage if things are going right, that goes without question,” continued Richards.

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Famous Bridge (centre) on the way to winning at Haydock
Famous Bridge (centre) on the way to winning at Haydock (Nigel French/PA)

“Mick (Meagher) and the whole team think very similar to how the boss used to think, but we will try to do what is best by the horse this year and make the right moves.”

He went on: “He’s only had six runs over fences and if he was going to go in the National this year he might only have one more run, maybe two at the most, and would that be just enough experience for him? I’m not quite sure.

“It’s very interesting and we don’t know where the journey is going to end, but hopefully we are on an interesting one.”

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