Tom Scudamore hoping Dude delivers Welsh National success
Looking ahead with Dynaste nothing is being ruled in or ruled out. We’ll sit down with the owners and David and discuss options. Last year it was pretty clear-cut that we were going to head for the Ryanair. This year the Gold Cup is also in the frame. There are pros and cons for both races. He’s obviously won the Ryanair last year and if we go to the Gold Cup we’ll have to take on Silviniaco Conti again. But the Gold Cup is a big carrot. He’s kept on so well today. That was the really good thing. I was flat out from a long way out and he’s kept on trying and battling for me. We weren’t as good as Silviniaco Conti on the day but he ran a great race. There was never any doubt in my mind that Dynaste was one of the best chasers in the country and today he’s gone and proved it. It was a great race to ride in, really exciting. I loved every single second of it. I said to Noel Fehily as he was pulling up “it’s a shame you weren’t on Barton Bank!”
All in all it was a good day. I won on Batavir nicely at Wincanton and then my Helicopter journey went smoothly. We were a bit late getting here so had to circle overhead for the Christmas Hurdle, so all I could see was Faugheen disappearing off into the sunset. It was good though as I went through the race with David as we circled in the Helicopter. He is so easy to ride for. We went through scenarios. I know how he wants the horses ridden and he leaves it to me, but he throws a few scenarios at me just so that we’ve got things covered, just in case I haven’t thought about a particular angle. Just say they jump off and nobody wants to make it, what do I do? That’s the kind of question he asks me. Because of that I’m not tied down to anything. It’s just the same as any race, I have to ride the horses to the best of their ability and how they want riding. It’s simple and means there’s never any clouded judgement.
To have 92 winners on the board before the New Year is exciting but there’s still a lot of hard work ahead and big races to run in, in fact every race is important. It’s very exciting. I have seven rides tomorrow and this is what you work for.
In the first race the 12.25pm I ride Wild Rover for Rebecca Curtis. He won his bumper first time out and looks like it’s a good opportunity for him. There will be one or two that will be fancied but he seems a nice type.
I’m on Smiles For Miles for Caroline Tisdall in the 12.55pm. He’s won his last two races but he’s up in class and the handicapper has had his say now . That said he’s won round Chepstow before and with the rain the conditions won’t be a problem for him. He’ll handle it better than most. He is stepping up in class, I think he can handle it but there’s only one way to find out.
In the 1.25pm I’m on Katkeau of the three David Pipe horses. He was the obvious choice. He won after a long layoff at Cheltenham and then ran well for a long way at Haydock but that was his second run back after that break. He ran very well to a point. He’s still got the best form as his form from Cheltenham has worked out very well. He’s a nice type and will handle the conditions. As he’s lightly raced I am hoping there’s still some improvement in him. Of the others Seriesnschock has been disappointing since he came over from France and has it to do. Bygones Sovereign won well last time but he’s too consistent as he wins off his mark and then struggles. He’s one of those frustrating horses who always runs his race and the handicapper uses as his benchmark, increasing the ratings of horses that finish ahead of him and lowering those behind, and he always ends up staying on the same mark. For a tough honest horse like him I feel sorry for him. I hope tomorrow for the owner’s sake and everyone’s sake that it’s his day as the Kaplans are good people but it’s always hard for him.
Sinndar’s Man is my mount in the 1.55pm Grade 1 hurdle. He disappointed last time but won well the two times before that. On the ratings he’s got it all to do. He should enjoy the conditions and I don’t know why he disappointed last time. It was absolutely bottomless ground at Lingfield but I thought that he’s handle it. Karezak was good last time and Golden Doyen beat Karezak the time before. I was very impressed with Golden Doyen and think he’ll be the one to beat.
In the Coral Welsh Grand National I am riding for my brother on Monbeg Dude rather than Amigo for David. I don’t have a retainer with David but our relationship works well, I enjoy working with him, and so there is the odd occasion that I can say to him if the owners are happy is it OK to ride another horse. On this occasion Conor has ridden Amigo before and won on him and I feel that Monbeg Dude has the best chance. That’s not to say that I don’t think Amigo has a chance. In fact it was a 60:40 decision in favour of Monbeg Dude. I’m not getting off an outsider and Amigo is 4lbs well in, and Monbeg Dude is 2lb badly in, but the thing that swung it was that his form is the best form in the race. He ran a huge race in the Hennessey to finish fourth. He has won the Welsh National before. His form is very solid. I’m as bullish and as confident as you can be going into a Welsh National.
It doesn’t look the strongest renewal. I don’t think there’s a Gold Cup horse lurking in there. That was one of the other reasons that swung it for me with Monbeg Dude as it wouldn’t surprise me to see the top weights battle it out. I fear Edmund Kean winning because they took him away from us. Benbens was going well when he fell a long way out in the Becher. He has a chance. Rebecca’s Choice beat Amigo last time but is twice the price. You’d have to give him a chance too. I’d be very disappointed if Monbeg Dude is not in the first three.
I’d love to win the Coral Welsh Grand National. My brother’s won it, my Granddad won it, my father’s won it, and I haven’t. I haven’t even had a good ride in it yet. I think I’ve only got round once. I’ve had about ten goes and normally pull up! It’s always been a race that’s given us many happy memories and, being selfish, it would just be nice if it could give me a happy memory for winning it this time.
In the 3.10pm I’m on Shoegazer coming off a long absence. He seems fit and well but he’s rated 140 which after eighteen months off the track is pretty high. We don’t know if he’ll be able to maintain the same level of form but he’s showing all the right signs at home. He’s nine rising ten so is there any improvement in him? You wouldn’t have thought so, but he’s been a cracking horse over the years and he’s fit and well enough to do himself justice.
And in the bumper I ride Preseli Rock for Rebecca. He was third round Ascot in a decent looking bumper and all her horses have to be respected in bumpers. It sets the standard if there’s anything unraced lurking with a chance. It’s so difficult with bumpers. There have been plenty of times when I’ve ridden horses that I’ve thought were flying machines in bumpers and I’ve been beaten by another flying machine. I remember when I was at Nigel Twiston-Davies’ and we went to bumper thinking we were a certainty. It was Mister Morose who ended up winning the Aintree Hurdle and we thought he’d hack up. We had a second horse in the race called Mahler I. Mister Morose finished second and Mahler came fourth and it was one of those bumpers that when you looked back was full of good horses. Mahler I ended up winning a Grade 1 novice chase the next year. Everyone had probably gone to Bangor that day thinking they were going to hack up. The same thing happened with Gatflax who ended up finishing third in a Supreme to French Ballerina and His Song. He went to Bangor for a bumper and we thought he was an absolute certainty and couldn’t possibly get beaten. And it got beaten by a horse called Barton who went on to win the Sun Alliance Hurdle as it was then. As it turned out Barton went the wrong side of a cone and we ended up getting the race anyway. But the point was still the same that no matter what you’ve got at home, you never know who you might run into in a bumper.