Scudamore says if it’s ever going to happen for Dynaste it will tomorrow
My first week back from the knee injury has gone well physically. I had a fall yesterday, and turned a somersault, and emerged fine, and more importantly I had a couple of winners during the week too. So all in all I’m in good shape and very happy to be back.
Katkeau won nicely during the week. He had to improve a bit on the ratings to win, but he did it and jumped well in the main, so should make a nice chaser. How much he’ll improve? I don’t know, but he certainly felt like he’ll make an even better chaser than he was a hurdler.
I was disappointed last weekend at Cheltenham not to have a winner. Plenty ran well, a couple hit the post, it’s a shame we didn’t get that winner. You see everyone else having winners, and it’s frustrating. Most of the horses ran well enough and I’m sure will be winning in the future.
I ride New Street in the 12.10pm at Haydock. He has the one run last year and won impressively at Stratford. He’s had one run this season and hopefully he’ll improve for that. If he does then he’ll have a chance in what looks a very competitive race.
In the 1.50pm I’m on Melodic Rendezvous. I rode him once last year in this race and he finished third. He ran very well the other day at Wincanton. He’s now worse off at the weights with Irving. That said the soft ground will suit him and he’s run well on the track before, so I don’t see any reason why he can’t turn round the form with Irving. That was his first run of the season at Wincanton so he should improve. It will be interesting to see how Top Notch goes as he’s a four year old so it will give us an insight into how good last year’s juveniles were, and a pointer to the likes of Peace And Co. If he wins, and wins well, then people will get even more excited about Peace And Co too. If however Top Notch gets lapped then perhaps you’d start to question how good the juvenile form from last year is.
It’s going to be a tactical race with just the four runners. I know Jeremy Scott has said we’ll get together to work out a cunning plan, but we had a cunning plan last year and it didn’t work. The most important thing will be to ride the race to suit yourself and see where it takes you.
I’m on Batavir in the 2.25pm who I rode last week at Cheltenham. He travelled well that day for a long way and perhaps this slight drop back in trip will help him. We’ll see, as I always felt he would get three miles. It shouldn’t harm him. He will love the soft ground and should run well, but he may have a bit to find with the likes of Shantou Bob and Tea For Two. If I wasn’t riding Batavir, Tea For Two would be the one for me.
At Cheltenham you need a bit of speed, given the pace they go in the races, but you also need plenty of stamina. At Haydock these days it is much more of a speed track. It’s like Southwell, it’s quite tight, and very different to how it used to be in the old days. It’s sad really the way it’s changed, very much to the course’s detriment. It’s not as good as it used to be. It used to be one of the finest tracks in the country. It’s still good but nowhere near the test it used to be.
Low Key also runs for David. He ran OK last time behind Brother Tedd and Silviniaco Conti. I’m not sure how much he’ll be suited by the soft ground. He’s been running well on the flat but needs to step up on what he’s done so far. David Noonan, his jockey, is leading amateur at the moment. He’s doing well. His claim has been knocked down to 5lbs. He’s improving all the time and has a really good attitude which will stand him in good stead. I’m sure he’ll continue to improve and develop. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. He’ll probably talk to David as he’s go the option of turning professional at some stage. It’s one thing being a successful amateur but another being a successful professional. He’s got plenty of point to point rides coming up so that will be factored into his plans.
It was a really tough decision to pick between Ballynagour and Dynaste in the Betfair Chase at 3.00pm. Dynaste comes out slightly higher on the official ratings, but there’s only 2lbs in it. There was only a neck in it the last time they ran. I just felt that Dynaste had run well in the race before and would definitely handle the heavy ground. Ballynagour will probably act on this ground, but he’s never really run on it, particularly in England yet. All his better form has been on quicker ground. They have both got it to find with Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti. But if it’s ever going to happen for Dynaste it will be tomorrow.
I was thinking just today about what racing was like growing up with those five and six runner fields around Haydock in years gone by, where you’d have the likes of Twin Oaks, Cool Ground, Dockland’s Express, and Pipey’s good horses, Run For Free, Riverside Boy, Bonanza Boy and co. The old warriors that kept on turning up. And it’s like that now with these horses, Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti and Dynaste, who are always turning up and taking each other on. Dynaste to be fair keeps being the bridesmaid but he deserves to win one of these, he’s run so well in the past. I’d love to think his day will be tomorrow.
In the 3.35pm I’m on Vieux Lion Rouge. He’s done pretty well. He’s had an incredible strike rate. I’ve won seven races on him from nine rides, so I like him, as I like all horses I win races on. I’m very fond of him. He’s done well in chases in small fields. I wasn’t that impressed by him at Towcester but he did much better around Market Rasen. It’s his first time in a handicap but he’s run well in handicap hurdles so he should be fine. If he runs like he did first time out last season then he’ll take a lot of beating. I always thought he’d make a staying chaser.
Poole Master runs in the race. He hasn’t quite reached the level of form that he showed when winning the Grand Sefton and he’s still paying the price for that from a handicapping point of view. He comes alive when he sees those big fences. Realistically he’ll be one of the outsiders today.
On Sunday I have the one ride at Exeter in the 1.30pm on Bobbitt’s Way. The track and the ground will suit him. It’s a big step up on the last run and he’s just out of the handicap. I won on him around Plumpton and then around Bangor but this is a big step up in class. It seems as if at the ripe old age of ten he’s getting better. Doing 10 stone will be that little bit harder given I haven’t ridden for a month prior to this week. But I’m 10 stone at the moment so it will be a quiet night on Saturday night, unless I win the Betfair Chase in which case I might have a glass of something.