Tom Scudamore Exclusive
Obviously I’m very disappointed about Dynaste missing Cheltenham. It’s a blow whichever way you look at it but there’s not a lot you can do, so you’ve got to just pick yourself up and get on with it. He’s got an injury that he’ll recover from and we can look forward to getting him back next year. But I’m very disappointed for his owners and for the person that looks after him in the yard. I’m in the lucky position along with David that we’ve got enough horses in the yard to look forward to that we can just try and put it out of our mind and focus on our other chances. But I feel sorry for the owners and the person that looks after him as they can’t do that and will be missing out this year. That said he’s giving us some fantastic times already and I’m sure he’ll bounce back. It’s definitely going to leave a hole in my Cheltenham book of rides.
When David told me I was at home and my first thought was one of big disappointment. But what can you do? Being angry or being cross about it just isn’t going to make any difference. From my point of you I’ve just got to get on with it. He’s not going to be there. That’s it.
I ride Shotavodka in the 1.50 at Newbury. He’s got to bounce back. He’s been a bit disappointing this season. He’ll like the three mile trip, he likes Newbury. He’s won round there before. He’s creeping down the weights gradually, but there’s a reason why he’s creeping down the weights. He hasn’t been running well enough. It’s probably more of a watching brief. He’s got the ability to go and run well. He has the talent. He had a great season last year and a great season the year before that, but this year for whatever reason it hasn’t been happening for him.
I’d be disappointed if Sire De Grugy doesn’t win the Game Spirit in the 3.00 and I still think he’ll win the Queen Mother Champion Chase. That’s based on what I’ve seen of the main contenders and how bullish Jamie Moore is about him. Sire De Grugy is a very popular horse but I don’t think he quite got the credit he deserved for what he achieved. It’s a shame that Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy didn’t both meet in their prime. I’m looking forward to watching him tomorrow and I still think he’s the one they’ve all got to beat come March.
In the Betfair Hurdle at 3.35 I ride Balgarry. He ran a cracking race last time. He didn’t bounce after his run at Ascot which was his first off a long absence. Indeed he stepped up on that effort. He is going to have to step up again to win this as my main concern is that he’s gone up 5lbs for finishing second. That’s never a good thing. He couldn’t win off his mark before and he’s then got raised 5lbs for it. He’s got to improve 5lbs before we start. Having said all that I think Newbury will really suit him and if he can improve from his second to third run, as much as he did from his first to his second, he has a shot. There aren’t many miles on the clock so we go in there realistically with a cracking each way chance. You can pick holes in all of his opponents. He’s a better horse than he showed in the Ladbroke and I do think he’s got a good chance of finishing in the money. It is a wide open race. The wind operation may have made a big difference to Calipto. But all last season’s juveniles have lines through Tiger Roll and that’s not looking such good form now. They’ve all been struggling. The big field’s not going to bother us, the ground’s not going to bother us and the way the race will be run will suit us. They’re going to go a good gallop, there are twenty four runners, and it’s going to be fast and competitive.
Swing Bowler has a good record in this race. Second and fifth off similar marks. She’s been competitive off this mark and you know what you’re going to get with her. If things fall right for her and the blinkers eek out that little bit more improvement I see no reason why she won’t run very well. It wasn’t a straightforward decision to pick Balgarry as the blinkers could improve her 3 or 4lbs and suddenly she’s bang there. But I just felt that Balgarry, after his last run, was the better of our two but I have been wrong before.
I always look forward to riding Kings Palace. It’s a small field and that’s the way it is. We’ve scared opponents off but we’ve still got to go and do it. It’s all very well having the best form. It will be nice to get back on him. I’m just going to keep it simple, concentrate and not leave anything to chance.