Scudamore Says: “West Approach is in with a big shout” on Boxing Day
I ride Storm Home in the first at 12.45, the novices hurdle. He is dropping back in trip and needs to improve on his first two runs to figure. Harry Fry’s horse, If The Cap Fits, looks very good and Nicky Henderson’s horse looks a nice type. It’s always a hot race and he’s going to have to improve on his form to date. I thought that he would handle the step up in trip last time at Wincanton but he didn’t so going back to two miles is the right thing to do. Jon Romans owns Storm Home and he’s a great enthusiast and a really nice guy. He’s always a pleasure to ride for.
Based on his first run of the season you’d have to give West Approach a good chance in the Kauto Star’s Novices Chase at 1.55, the way that race at Ffos Las has worked out. Obviously he blew out on his following start at Cheltenham, but bounced back to form last time out. He isn’t the most consistent horse but on a going day you can make a serious case for him. West Approach is quite a quirky horse. He was the same over hurdles, quite in-and-out. If he’s feeling it, and jumps well early on, then we are in with a big shout. Around Kempton that’s the key.
Elegant Escape is very solid, he’s tough and he deserves his place in the field. Whether he is up to Grade One standard at this stage is the question but we’ll find out on Boxing Day. He is a good horse and he is only young and still improving. On his Chepstow run he has it to find with Mia’s Storm, but he’s still improving so perhaps he can bridge the gap. He’s a really likeable horse. It’s a very open contest and every horse has claims.
It’s also not unhelpful to have a ride over the same course and distance of the King George, to help get in the rhythm of the trip and the track ahead of riding Thistlecrack.
Of course I’m going to be thinking about the King George, and Thistlecrack, and the opposition, over the next day or two, but first and foremost I’m going to relax and enjoy my Christmas break with the family. Then come the evening I’ll be going through the video form of them all, and watching videos of previous King Georges, and generally getting prepared. It’s a rattling good race as always.
It’s great that everything has gone smoothly with his preparation and that he’s lining up in the race. But it’s one thing being part of the race, however we want to be winning it. He won the race last year, and it was a tremendous performance to go and do it as a novice, but that’s been and gone now and I want to do it again. As we go into this renewal it fully dawns on you what he achieved last year to win the race in the style he did.