1 Saddle Quern Trophy for the Gold Castle

Nicky Richards and Paul Nicholls among leading trainers chasing success

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THE 2022 William Hill Perth Festival begins with a real swing with the opening day card carrying more than £105,000 in prize money and featuring a couple of back-to-back Listed contests.


Nicky Richards is looking forward to running Famous Bridge, one of six quality runners declared for the British EBF William Hill Gold Castle ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed).


The Greystoke trainer said: “He won nicely in a handicap at Kelso and that is working out well, so we have decided to roll the dice in this better company. He’s deserved a crack at this type of race and he’s bred to get this longer trip. We think he’s a nice progressive horse but it’s a cracking race and the other trainers will probably be thinking the same!”


Paul Nicholls, about to be crowned champion trainer for the 13th time and winning handler last year with Threeunderthrufive, saddles Complete Unknown, a cosy winner of a Grade 3 hurdle at Sandown last month.


As the top-rated runner on a BHA mark of 144, Venetia Williams-trained Pink Legend is one of five runners in the £32,500 William Hill Fair Maid Of Perth Mares’ Chase (Listed) as jockey Charlie Deutsch bids for his first win at Perth on just his eighth ride at the Scone venue.


However, she may not have things her own way as Zambella, representing Nigel Twiston-Davies and Daryl Jacob, was a close fourth in Grade 2 company on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.


Matthew Taylor, Perth Racecourse Racing Manager, said: “‘The track has come on significantly in the last week and the going as of Tuesday afternoon is Good to Soft, Good in places. We are all looking forward to a really high-quality day’s racing tomorrow with the weather now set fair for the rest of the week as we welcome crowds back in April for the first time since 2019.”


Among those in attendance at Perth’s season opener, the first of three days of the William Hill Perth Festival, will be special guest Sir AP McCoy in his capacity as a William Hill ambassador.


Tickets are available for all three days of the William Hill Perth Festival, April 20-22, Buy Tickets