Scu Says “I’m looking forward to riding Moon Racer at the Festival”
It’s been pretty desperate weather where I live, but thankfully we’re now through the worst of it. Obviously I’ve missed some rides but it hasn’t been too bad as the schools have been shut and I’ve been able to spend some fun time with the girls. It’s a mini-half term for them in some ways.
Even from a jockey’s perspective if you’re going to have a break, then two weeks before Cheltenham isn’t a bad time. It’s always frustrating to miss racing but it doesn’t really affect us jockeys so much, it’s the trainers and stable staff that find this extreme weather much more of an issue.
I was down at David’s on Tuesday when it was just very, very cold and I was there all day, as it was all hands to the pump, riding out horses and then laying down frost covers in the afternoon. Even with all the frost and snow, it doesn’t really stop the trainers and stable staff doing their job it just makes it very hard work.
Moon Racer is a horse I’m looking forward to riding at the Festival. I saw Matt Chapman tipped him up yesterday in the County Hurdle. He’s also got an entry in the Coral Cup but it looks like he is most likely to go for the County, although no final decision has been made. He came out of the Betfair Hurdle very well and is in good form at home.
Vaniteux is another horse that I’m looking forward to riding in the Grand Annual but he is quite ground dependent. His best form is on better ground. That’s the interesting thing, for some horses you are hoping the ground dries out a bit but then for others you want the ground to be soft, so it can’t suit all the horses. It’s all very unclear what sort of ground we are going to get given the weather we’ve been having. It’s covered in snow at the moment and as soon as it melts it’s going to make the ground even softer. The forecast is very unsettled too, with warmer weather but rain around, so who knows what it will be.
Nothing has been finalised but I know I have some nice rides for David Pipe in the handicaps, I’ll ride some of Neil Mulhollands’ when Noel Fehily is on something else, and it’s a similar situation with the Tizzards, as I should pick up some rides for them once Robbie Power has nailed down his riding plans, so it’s quite an exciting time.
I have some great Cheltenham Festival memories. Having my first Festival winner on An Accordion was amazing. It felt like a landmark moment for me as it had taken me quite a while to get that first Festival winner under my belt. I’d had quite a few Festival rides but not many fancied ones until he won.
Then in 2014 when Western Warhorse, Dynaste and Ballynagour all won, that was very special. I only just missed out on being Top Jockey that year because Ruby Walsh beat me on seconds. That was a big moment for David and I to go there and have a really strong Festival. Since then we have had plenty of success there so that was a very memorable Festival.
I remember being at school watching the telly when my Dad (Peter Scudamore) won the Champion Hurdles on Celtic Shot and Granville Again, and they are great memories. I was at Cheltenham when he won the Cathcart Chase on Chatam, but I actually remember being really disappointed that day because Dad had been beaten in the Gold Cup on Celtic Shot. Looking back my memories are always those extremes of being so happy when he won big races, and then so disappointed when he was beaten. It’s something you learn as a jockey to be far more balanced, enjoying the good days and never getting too down about the bad days, as you will always have both.