Richards hope Harding rides Ned

Nicky Richards is hoping Brian Harding is back from injury in time to partner Simply Ned in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Simply Ned

Harding has been out of action since the first week of January, after a fall at Musselburgh in which he damaged his T7 vertebrae and bruised a kidney.

The weighing-room veteran has been continuing his recuperation at the Jack Berry House in Malton.

"I haven't seen him for a few days, but I've spoken to his partner and he's been using Jack Berry House for the last few days," said Richards.

"I don't know exactly when he'll be back, but I'd imagine he'll be trying his hardest to be back for Cheltenham to ride Simply Ned because he loves the horse.

"Ned will go straight there, we're trying something different with him and we're hoping Douvan frightens a few off.

"Some are already going for the Ryanair, but there's a lot of prize-money on offer to aim at.

"He's been a wonderful horse to us, taking us to all the big meetings and it's not every day you get a horse like him.

"He always runs his race, but we're under no illusions."

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