Scudamore wishing for New Year’s Day to remember at Cheltenham
We had a great Christmas, spending it with my mother for the first time since I left home. So that was really nice. The girls loved it and it was good to have a few days off to spend some quality time with them all. On New Year’s Eve we are all going to watch a film together and it’s debatable whether I will see the New Year in at midnight or not.
Looking back at the King George on Boxing Day I thought it was a wonderful race. I thought Cue Card would win and outstay Vautour but he left it very late. It was a thrilling race and so exciting to watch. They are both wonderful horses. In terms of the whip debate if you went down the demotion route you’d have Al Ferof winning the King George having finished well back in the third. Nobody would have wanted to see that, apart from Dan Skelton and Harry Skelton. As it is Paddy was hit with a hefty fine and will miss plenty of days, so I think the rules and penalties are working well enough as they are. Yes you don’t want to see people breaking the rules but on the whole the system is working well. When you are riding in a race first and foremost you are trying to get to the winning post first. Of course you don’t want to go over the whip limit, but you also need to make sure you stay straight and get to that winning post first. Another issue is that we basically have the same rules for a three mile chase as a two mile hurdle, so it takes no account for the length of the race.
In the 12.10 on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham I ride Champers On Ice. He’s been performing well this year and sets a decent standard. I was very pleased with him when he won at Newbury. Whatever he does over hurdles will be a bonus because he will make a terrific staying chaser. But tomorrow the ground will suit him, the track will suit him, I think he will run another big race. It’s a competitive race and there are a few in with chances, but Champers has got a decent chance.
In the 12.45 I am on Alternatif and I think he’s my best chance of a winner all day. I was very pleased with his win at Fontwell. He showed a really good attitude that day. He probably hasn’t been the toughest of battlers in the past, but he’s run well at Cheltenham before and he’s a young horse, so there’s more to come from him. He’s my best ride of the day.
Then in the 2.30 I ride Batavir and I think he’s overpriced. He was third in the brush hurdle at Haydock which is great form. He has a cracking each way chance in this race. Yes it’s an open competitive race, there are a few improving horses in there, but I don’t think you’ve seen the best of Batavir yet.
In the last I’m on Cable for Shark O’Hanlon. I know absolutely nothing about the horse. The Shark will give me the full run through tomorrow. He’s a lovely fellow and a good man to ride for. I am sure he’ll be giving me a proper briefing. I wouldn’t have thought he was coming over just for the day out that’s for sure. He knows the time of day