Scudamore says: “I’m hopeful of a very big run from Le Rocher”
If I’m honest I didn’t think the ground would be that bad, but then I saw pictures of the track, and I heard rumours that people haven’t been allowed walk the course, so that gets the alarm bells ringing a bit.
It is what it is, and we are all there now so will have to take it as it comes, but it sounds like conditions will be harking back to Cheltenhams of 20 to 30 years ago before the new drainage came into play.
It looks like it will be the softest ground we’ve seen at Cheltenham since 1995, and the softest that the meeting has started on since 1989, so the one thing I have been doing is going onto YouTube and watching some of those old races, like Beech Road’s Champion Hurdle and Desert Orchid’s Gold Cup in 1989, and other races from that Festival. It is very interesting to watch, and certainly food for thought.
Supreme Novices Hurdle – Shoal Bay
I was impressed with him when he won at Taunton and he then ran really well behind Western Ryder at Cheltenham. I went home that day thinking Shoal Bay was going to become a very nice horse and he was just a bit raw and didn’t have the savviness of the other horses from the last hurdle.
He disappointed me last time at Kempton. I thought he’d run better than he did. He has to bounce back from that, but on his Cheltenham run earlier in the season he’s no 80/1 chance. I’m not saying he’ll win but he could go and surprise a few people
Ultima Handicap Chase – Ramses De Teillee
Ramses De Teillee has already had a good season. He’s win twice and been second twice and taken to fences really well. He’ll like the ground. The handicapper hasn’t taken many chances with him but then it doesn’t look that strong a race if I’m honest.
It’s amazing that it hasn’t filled up. Put it this way we weren’t expecting Eamon An Cnoic to get in.
Eamon An Cnoic has to prove that he’ll stay. David is convinced that he will stay and I get the impression that he thinks he’s going to run a big race. I was always going to ride Ramses De Teillee if he ran but David has certainly been giving me food for thought.
This is Buveur D’Air’s race to lose. Faugheen has to bounce back. They are probably clutching at straws with the cheekpieces. He doesn’t look gone but he is a shadow of his former self.
He ran okay at Leopardstown but Buveur D’Air is different class to these and I can see it being a repeat of last year with My Tent Or Yours coming second.
Mares Hurdle – Indian Stream
Indian Stream probably wants better ground. She was fourth in the race last year. Apple’s Jade is going to be very tough to beat. If she turned up in the Champion Hurdle she’d be second favourite, and if she ran in the Stayers she’d be favourite.
It’s a small but select field. Indian Stream was fourth last year not beaten that far, and she’s 66/1 which tells you all you need to know about how competitive this is.
Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase – Le Rocher
Le Rocher could end up being my best ride of the day. He will handle the ground but he does need to jump better than he has been doing. That said he has won three of his four chases and was unlucky not to win last time when he clipped the top of the fence and slipped on landing.
That was his best jumping round to date. He is a high quality hurdler and I think he is well handicapped over fences. He has been placed very well. I am hopeful of a very big run from him.
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