Tom Scudamore thinks Sire De Grugy is right back to his best
I was very impressed with Sire De Grugy at Chepstow last Saturday, when I finished second to him on Grey’s Gold. Whatever problems he had at Newbury, he looked well over them, and his jumping was superb. It was a fantastic performance to give that much weight away on that ground, and he looks the one to beat in the Champion Chase. He looks back to the level of form that he achieved last year. Sprinter Sacre still has to bounce back to his best. Dodging Bullets has had a good year but I’m not really sure he’s improved since his novice chase days to be honest. Although he’s won two Grade 1s, I’m not sure how strong those races were. The one that’s improved at the rate of knots is Mr Mole but Sire De Grugy is the one for me. I’d even go as far as to say he’s the banker of the whole meeting.
The World Hurdle is a wide open race, following the news that More Of That won’t be defending his title and I’m looking forward to riding Un Temps Pour Tout. Given the natural improvement you’d hope to get after his first run, and from him being a young horse, I’d like to think he’s bang in the mix. I hope he has a very good each way chance, with a legitimate chance of winning it. It looks an open race and Saphir De Rheu perhaps sets the standard but there’s no outstanding candidate. It’s a pretty open affair and on his last run Un Temps Pour Tout definitely has a chance.
Looking ahead to Cheltenham, many of my best chances will come in the handicaps and at this stage we haven’t finalised which horses will run in which race. That will become clearer in the next week or so. Some of them are borderline to get in certain races so precise plans are a bit up in the air. However at this stage my shortlist of exciting rides would be Kings Palace in the RSA Chase, Un Temps Pour Tout in the World Hurdle, Moon Racer in the Bumper and The Giant Bolster in the Gold Cup. They are my four big guns.
I am excited about Cheltenham but I’ve still got the job in hand to do day to day, so my prime focus is on Doncaster on Saturday.
In the 2.00pm I ride King’s Grey. It’s my first ever ride for John Wade, and the horse seems to be running back to form. He trains some nice horses up in the north and it’s nice to make new contacts. You never know where these things might lead to. It’s a good ride to pick up. He’s a solid horse. David O’Meara’s horse Ifandbutwhynot looks the one to beat. He was a decent hurdler and has taken his time to come to his best form over fences. But he looks like he’s gradually getting there now. Maybe the better ground will help him. That said I certainly wouldn’t rule out my fella.
In the 3.10pm I ride Batavir who is going for a hat-trick. He won nicely at Wincanton last time and is running after a little break but that shouldn’t be a problem. He’s got a favourites chance. It’s probably my best ride of the day. I’m sure he’ll handle the better ground and this looks the right race for him.
I’m on Streams of Whiskey in the Grimthorpe Chase. He has taken a bit of time to find his way over fences but was impressive at Haydock over a shorter trip back at the start of this season. He bounced back to form with a good second last time out and looks like a horse who will be suited by this better ground. I’m sure he’ll go well.
Doncaster is a funny track to ride. You are always on the bend. It should be quite galloping but especially over fences you are always on the turn. It’s a funny place because you can almost lose your bearings. The ground is invariably better than anywhere else in England as it drains so well. When it’s bottomless everywhere else it’s soft or good to soft at Doncaster. It suits those better ground horses. Jumping wise you have to respect it. Those fences take some jumping.