This column suggested that given a clean bill of health the horses in his Greystoke yard possessed the firepower to provide Nicky Richards with an outstanding season, writes John Budden.

The results of the past week have added substance to the theory with Cumbria’s leading jumps trainer winning races at Hexham, Kelso and Carlisle at consecutive meetings.

This weekend, he will be powerfully represented at Cheltenham’s prestigious November fixture with both Simply Ned and Guitar Pete fancied to be competitive in feature events.

Nicky’s spell of winners kicked off with the Trevor Hemmings owned Glenduff scorching home up the stands’ rails at Carlisle’s Colin Parker Memorial meeting. Ribble Valley then outclassed his rivals at Hexham last Friday. Uncle Jonty followed suit with a fortuitous success at Kelso and Ambrose justified strong market support in the mares’ hurdle at Carlisle on Monday.

Brian Hughes was fulsome in his praise for Ribble Valley after his Hexham victory, describing the youngster as a class horse and a pleasure to ride, and said: “He travels smoothly throughout his races and can quicken as soon as he is asked to pick up.”

The North’s leading jumps jockey, currently hard on the heels of Richard Johnson in his bid to wrest the national title, reckons that Guitar Pete has a sound each way chance in tomorrow’s BetVictor Cup at Prestbury Park, where he will be ridden by Ryan Day, who was on board the nine-year-old when the pair scored at Wetherby a fortnight ago.

Guitar Pete finished third in the corresponding race last autumn before occupying the same position in the Caspian Caviar Chase, an event which he had landed in 2017. Richards is optimistic of a good run, stressing that Guitar Pete has come on well since Wetherby and has been in sharp form on the home gallops.

“He was pricking his ears at the finish. His jumping improved as the race developed and I shall keep him wide again as he does not like being crowded,” said Richards.