Buffalo has fantastic National chance says Scudamore
At this time of year, and it’s the same in September and October, it’s the bookmakers’ time of year because the ground is changing so much. All these horses have wonderful form and ones next to their name but they’ve been doing it on winter ground. Then they come here and it’s good ground, and spring good ground is even quicker again than winter good, it feels almost like good to firm ground, and you see lots of favourites getting turned over. Yes for some of them it may be because they’ve had a long season and gone over the top but for most of them it’s down to the ground changing. To use a cricket analogy, they’ve gone from playing on a nice ‘green top’ to playing on a ‘dust bowl’ in the sub-continent. In simple terms some horses are better suited by the quicker conditions and others just aren’t.
As far as Ayr goes it is generally a great track to be handy because of the speed they go on the fast ground but then Jamie Moore on Al Co was nearly last and wide and still won. So there’s no real Ayr-type or way of riding Ayr that works best, it’s most important to be on the best horse.
I ride Gassin Golf in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at 2.35pm for Richard Lee. He’s a really good spare ride to pick up, with Richard Johnson riding Cheltenian. He won last time at Newbury and has been placed a few times. It took him a long time to get off the mark but he’s been running well and he loves these big field handicaps. He’s been placed in a couple of Imperial Cups, placed at Punchestown, placed in so many races, and he’ll have a good each way chance again tomorrow. Whether he’ll get his head in front is another thing because he’s so consistent that the handicapper always has him where he wants him really. He’s tough and the ground won’t be a problem so I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race. I can see the likes of Irving, even under top weight, and Bertimont going well.
I ride My Brother Sylvest in the 3.10pm. He’s a good old favourite. He’s probably handicapped up to the hilt and has a bit to find but the quicker the ground the better for him. It’s going to be fun because he’s an absolute lunatic and the quicker the ground the quicker he goes. He just has one speed, and that’s fast. I won’t be taking my time on him, put it that way. Realistically we are just going for place prize money but don’t be surprised if he runs a big race if the ground is quick. He thrives on fast ground. Dunraven Storm likes the quick ground but he’s had a long season and ran badly at Cheltenham. It’s an open race and we have a shot.
The Scottish Grand National is one of those races, and the Midlands National is another, where you realise that four miles is a long way. There are lots of horses that you think will get four miles but very few that genuinely do. With a circuit to go you’ll see a whole load in with a chance, but many of them are just slow three mile chasers who don’t then stay. These are the horses that you always think will appreciate a step up in trip but they don’t because they are actually just slow rather than stay four miles. Typically in the Scottish National you turn away from the stands with half of the field still in contention, and it won’t even be halfway down the back and suddenly there’s only six that can win it, and horses are dropping out like flies. It’s a combination of the extreme distance run at such a fast pace. It’s a good, fair jumping test. It’s a good chase track. I like it round here.
I have completed a couple of times in the Coral Scottish Grand National and it’s a race I’d love to win. One of my earliest memories is watching Dad win it on Little Polveir, well before that horse won the Aintree Grand National. It’s a cracking race, I’m very fond of it, and I’d like to win it. I ride Broadway Buffalo who ran really well in second in the four miler at Cheltenham. He was a bit unlucky as they bypassed the second last and he made a mistake at the top of the hill and that may have been the difference between winning and losing. On the plus side it proved he stays but on him I wouldn’t want to see the ground get too quick. We also think he might be a future Grand National horse. If the ground is right I think he has a fantastic chance but given our hopes for him in the future we have to be sure the ground is right.
We also run Amigo and he is the opposite to Broadway Buffalo as he won’t mind the ground quickening up. He ran second behind Carruthers at Newbury. He flew at the end and I was really annoyed to get beaten. That amateur Tony McCoy wiped me out at the cross-fence for which he apologised afterwards! He was on and off the bridle all the way. He’ll love the drying ground and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the first six.
The ground is going to be a big factor. There are so many horses that won’t be suited by it. Catching On has been looking like a world beater but he’s been running on soft ground. He looks an out and out stayer but he’s been winning on heavy. Sam Winner looks like he’ll get four miles but all his form is on soft ground. Then you have Trustan Times who was placed in this race last year. His form has been rubbish leading up to this race but he may be crying out for better ground.
I ride Border Breaker in the 4.25pm. He’s won his last two races, Newbury and Taunton. He’s going in the right direction, improving, and will have a good chance. He’s probably my best chance of my winner on the day.