Scudamore says Lion can roar to Ascot victory
In the 2.25pm I ride Vieux Lion Rouge. I think he’s got a good chance. David has found a good opportunity for him. He would have been second at worst behind Aachen last time when he came down at Cheltenham. Aachen has come out and run well since then. Vieux Lion Rouge is improving still. It’s a tight little race with some decent horses in it but I think my horse still has improvement in him, and has taken well to fences, so he’s got a good chance in this. He’s up to a mark of 146 but I was pleased with him at Haydock and he felt like he was still improving. We’ll find out if he is here, but I think he can do it.
I ride the bottom weight Fingertips in the 3.00pm. This looks a good race. Fingertips fell last time at Sandown and won the time before that. He’s only a four year old in a handicap so he gets the age allowance. It’s a bit of a watching brief, as it’s the first time I’ve ridden him in a race, although I’ve watched his races. Daryl Jacob gets first shout on the Simon Munir-owned horses in all the yards but he can’t do the weight in this race so I’ve picked up the ride and am looking forward to it. He’s got no weight on his back, and the ground will be testing, so hopefully he’s one of the less exposed horses in the field.
In the 3.35pm, the Betfair Chase, I ride my old friend Dynaste. He’s got the blinkers on, and has had a wind operation since his last run in the Long Walk Hurdle. He’s taking on Silviniaco Conti again tomorrow but this is the first time he’s run against him over Dynaste’s preferred trip. 2m5f will suit my horse. This time last year it would probably be 100/1 bar the two of them, but neither of them have run to form recently. Dynaste ran OK at Haydock but was very disappointing at Ascot while Silviniaco Conti ran no race at all at Kempton. Both are coming here off the back of poor runs, they’ve both got blinkers on. They’ve been taking each other on for many years now and are both cracking horses. Other than Flemenstar, you would say that these two are head and shoulders above the rest of the field, but unfortunately time waits for no man, or horse, and will find out if it’s caught up with them tomorrow. Hopefully with my horse, after the wind operation, you’ll see a much better Dynaste tomorrow.
A good Dynaste wins tomorrow. That’s the long and short of it. It depends on how much ability he retains. I haven’t sat on him since he ran at Ascot, but then he’s a horse I have very little to do with at home, but I’ve ridden him in god knows how many races. We know each other like the back of our hands. He’s a difficult horse to gauge as he’s never been flashy at home. When I rode him before the Ryanair that he won, I thought he didn’t feel very well and a week later he won at the Festival. So that just shows you. The one thing with Dynaste is that he is consistent. He’s never been a flashy worker at home but he’s nearly always run well on the track. He hasn’t run over fences at Ascot before but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be completely suited to it.
What A Moment is my ride in the 4.10pm. I was disappointed with him last time but he’s stepping up in trip to just short of three miles. His run at Fakenham two starts ago was a good one, even though he was a beaten odds-on favourite, as the winner has come out and won well since. He’ll handle the ground and the track but he’s going to have to improve.
On Sunday I ride one for Rebecca Curtis in the first at Ffos Las, the 2.00pm, Apache Outlaw. He was second in a deep ground bumper at Bangor but Rebecca’s other horse Preseli Rock and Potters Cross probably set the standard.
I then ride one for my brother, Twenty Eight Guns. He’s found the right race for her, and I think she’ll go really well so I’m crossing fingers that Ffos Las is on . I think she’ll win.
I don’t understand why people keep knocking Victoria Pendleton. It drives me mad. Yes of course she’s doing it for publicity, Betfair are sponsoring her, so it’s all about the publicity. But instead of embracing it, and appreciating the positives of her involvement in the sport, there are people saying she’s rubbish, she shouldn’t be doing it, it shouldn’t be allowed, etc. At the end of the day this is an elite sportswoman, who has been a fantastic ambassador for the country winning gold medals at Cycling, and she’s now devoting herself to this most challenging and dangerous project in our sport.
What Victoria is finding out, and telling everyone that’s following her efforts, is that trying to become a jump jockey is incredibly difficult and physically demanding, something that some of the followers of the sport whether they watch from their sofas or behind their laptops, probably don’t truly appreciate. If Victoria’s phenomenal efforts help raise the understanding of the difficulty and unique demands of jump race riding, then that can only be a good thing. Fair play to her for giving it a go. It was just unfortunate what happened to her yesterday. I truly admire her for her efforts so far and hope she makes it to Cheltenham. But if she doesn’t and they wait for next year, then that’s fine, and good luck to her however it plays out.