NICKY Richards has made an excellent start to 2020 with a few winners already hailing from his famous Greystoke yard.

Marown got the ball rolling in the opening maiden hurdle at Ayr on January 2 and he looks a lovely young prospect. He had won his only start in a bumper at Newcastle in March and Nicky says he will take his time with the Trevor Hemmings-owned gelding.

Nicky also took the feature handicap hurdle at Musselburgh on January 3 when Petite Ganache slammed Court Baloo by an impressive seven and a half lengths.

The Richards stable completed a double on the card after French-bred Elios D’Dor, ridden by Ryan Day and carrying the colours of Langdale Bloodstock, came home nicely clear in the bumper.

The aforementioned Marown’ half-brother Castle Rushen made a winning racecourse debut in the bumper at Ayr on Monday. Another Trevor Hemmings youngster, he produced a smashing performance and is one of a clutch of horses for owner and trainer that have bright futures.

Nicky’s conditional Danny McMenamin has also began the year in sparking form with winners at Musselburgh and Ayr. The Irishman was on Nuts Well at the former venue on January 1st and at Ayr on Monday Epsom Des Mottes and is now within a couple of wins of riding out his 5lb allowance.

Dianne Sayer was on the mark at Catterick on New Year’s Day when Summer Lightning struck at 12-1 in the hands of Carlisle-based Conor O’Farrell.

When trained by Dianne’s late brother Ken Slack, the mare made a winning racecourse debut under Graham Lee at Newcastle in April 2018.

It looks like a decent card at Kelso on Sunday with the likes of George Bewley, Nicky Richards, Andrew Wilson, Maurice Barnes, Dianne Sayer and Martin Todhunter all holing entries at the borders track. Let’s hope they return to Cumbria with a few winners.

I’m counting the days until February 3 when we open the new season with a Monday fixture with a first race time scheduled for 1.50pm.

Check out all the Carlisle fixtures on the website where you can also find details of various packages for hospitality and Swifts restaurant.

Annual members badges are now on sale for 2020 and there is an exciting trip to Punchestown available to Annual Badge holders only.

Tickets are already on sale for the Music Night on Saturday, July 4 when the Brit award-winning Rudimental will be performing live.