Tom Scudamore looks ahead to Sandown on Saturday
New Year’s Day was a really annoying day. The horses ran well but to have two seconds is frustrating. A winner makes all the difference. And for one to get in front just before the line, as Knight Of Noir did, only for the other horse to have enough time to get back up because he was idling is so annoying. It was a frustrating day.
On the plus side both Our Father and Knight Of Noir are running well which bodes well for the future. Knight Of Noir will make up into a nice chaser. He’ll probably go up another 5lbs despite getting beaten, which means that he’ll have gone up 10lbs for his last two starts without winning either of them which is also frustrating. He’s a horse for the future and there’ll be races to be won with him.
Our Father had been in the doldrums a little bit so it’s great that he’s bounced back. It was also the first time that he’s run well second time out which gives you hope. He’s been one of those horses that has one big run for the season first time out and then disappears. So the fact that he’s backed up his solid first run at Aintree on his second time out is encouraging. I don’t think it will be long before he’s winning.
I ride Classical Start in the first at Sandown 12.10pm. He ran well first time around there in a decent juvenile hurdle but then disappointed at Wetherby. There aren’t many runners so if he can bounce back to the form of his first run he’d have a little chance. The winner of that race has come out and won again and it rode like a decent race. He was disappointing last time but hopefully he can put that behind him.
In the 1.50pm I’m on Dance Floor King for Nick Mitchell. This is a nice spare to pick up. He won impressively at Ascot last time out and appears to be improving. He looks like he has a really good chance. Sandown is an enjoyable track to ride over fences, although all tracks are fun to ride when things are going well! It’s a good test for jump horses and when it all goes right round there, down the back straight, over the railway fences, on to the pond fence, it’s a great track to ride. It gives you a great thrill, but just the same as anywhere if you’re not jumping or travelling well it’s horrible. I remember riding a horse called I’m So Lucky round there one day on fast ground in the Celebration Chase and that was just a brilliant thrill. That was as good a ride as I’ve ever had over fences. When it all comes off at Sandown it’s a really exciting place to ride.
In the 3.00pm I ride Balgarry in a competitive handicap hurdle. It’s his second run back after a really long absence which is always a concern. He seems fit and well and if he can build on his Ascot run he would have a chance. But any horse who’s been off for such a long time as he was, you’re always then concerned how they’ll run on their second start back. For whatever reason sometimes horses don’t hold their form for that second run back off an absence, the bounce factor. What exactly causes that bounce factor I don’t know, but it seems to happen a lot.