Tom Scudamore thinks it will be tough for Sprinter Sacre
I’m really pleased and proud to have reached 100 winners for the season. Given the horses that I’m lucky enough to ride and the weather that’s been kind this season I sort of expected it but I’m delighted to have done it. Hopefully there are plenty more to come. Last season it was touch and go whether I would reach 100 winners, and it is a big thing to achieve it. But this year I started the season so well, and with such good horses in the yard, it was something that I just had to do. I’ve never been one to set targets beyond riding as many winners as possible. Very few people have ridden 100 winners and even fewer have done it twice. Over the last 20 years only six or seven jockeys have notched 100 winners twice. The likes of AP McCoy, Richard Johnson. Norman Williamson, Mick Fitzgerald, Jason Maguire and Choc Thornton have all done it. It really is a pretty big thing to have done.
My dad was very proud. He’s an integral part of it all. It’s nice to be able to discuss things with someone who’s been there and done it, and bounce ideas off them. He really helps with the mental aspect of the job, and how to cope with certain things. He has a good understanding of the mental challenges and what has to be done. He’s always the first person on the phone to me after racing.
I ride Willem in the 2.25 at Ascot. It’s only his fourth run over hurdles. I’ve sat on him at home and he seems like a nice horse. It’s a tough first race for him but we wouldn’t be running him if we didn’t think he was up to it. He’s running from 4lbs out of the handicap but given the entries that David has made for him he is clearly quite highly regarded. We’ll find out more about him on Saturday afternoon but he’s certainly an exciting prospect and one that everyone is pretty keen on.
All eyes will be on Sprinter Sacre in the 3.00pm. He’s had such a long time off now. He’s only run once in the last eighteen months and that was a disaster. Personally I think it’s going to be tough for him. I’d love to see him bounce back, and be the horse that we saw two seasons ago. But I think it will be hard. It will be an incredible training performance if he does win. Even if he retains 80% if his ability he should win but I do think it will be a tall order. Horses that have had that long off more often than not lose a bit of their ability.
In the 3.35pm I’m on Tenor Nivernais for Venetia Williams. Venetia’s horses have been running well and perhaps we can go and surprise a few people. Obviously Aidan’s on Niceonefrankie for Venetia which looks the first string, but I’m hoping Aidan’s chosen wrong. It doesn’t happen often.
It’s a shame that the BHA is belatedly investigating Aidan’s use of the whip when winning the Coral Welsh Grand National. I don’t see what good will come of it. The current whip rules have mainly been working well. Sometimes in long distance jump races you need to use the whip for various different reasons. I know Aidan technically broke the rules but it wasn’t blatant. The Steward’s gave him a bit of leeway and they didn’t find him guilty of anything on the day. It’s a bit embarrassing for everyone involved that it’s taken so long to review this ride. Obvious Paul Bittar sent that infamous tweet saying it was a great ride but I also thought it was out of order that he described it as a brutal race. That was the wrong terminology to use, particularly for a man in his position at the time.
It’s a difficult subject. I didn’t think it was sensible of the jockeys who were found guilty of breaking the rules in the Ladbroke Hurdle to say that they would do it again. As jockeys we have a responsibility to work within the rules. We have to make it work or else the other option might be that they decide to take races off us. After all the whip is an important tool that we need to encourage and control.