Rich Ricci hopeful Monkfish could be new star after Faugheen retires

Owner Rich Ricci hopes Cheltenham Festival winner Monkfish might be a potential Gold Cup horse of the future.

The six-year-old battled to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on the final day, beating Latest Exhibition and Fury Road narrowly.

Monkfish made a bad mistake at the eighth hurdle and was headed up the run-in, but stuck his neck out between rivals to gain the verdict.

The 5/1 winner was given quotes of 20/1 for the 2021 RSA Chase, a race which could be followed by the Gold Cup the following season.

Asked if he might be a new star on the National Hunt scene, after Faugheen retires, Ricci said: "I hope so, he's very good.

"Paul (Townend, jockey) said he's not the finished article at all, very raw. There's plenty more to come.

"He was green the whole way round, even coming up the hill he looked at some people standing there and found more again.

"He scooted up the hill.

"There were four good horses, that was a really good race. It was fantastic to watch, it was great.

"Look at the size of him.

"He's definitely a chaser in the making. I'd say he'd be a good one as well, so please God he stays alright."

Ricci's pink colours have regularly been in the winners' enclosure at The Festival and Faugheen was given a great reception by the crowd this week.

Only beaten a length behind Samcro in the Marsh Novices' Chase, at the grand old age of 12, he is set to race on this season if it continues over coronavirus fears .

"Faugheen was magic," said Ricci.

"The reception he got was unbelievable and it has been a great week.

"He came home this morning and he's as happy as larry.

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