Tom Scudamore hoping Dynaste can roll back the years
I’m looking forward to getting back after a couple of weeks off injured. It was frustrating to get hurt again but you just have to get on with it. It’s annoying as it cost me the chance of riding a hundred winners this season but at the same time it’s been great to spend time with Lottie and the kids, so you’ve got to take the positives out of it.
I ride Dynaste in the big race the Betfred Bowl at 2.50pm. It’s going to be very tough for him. It’s a cracking race but the way he ran last time at Cheltenham prompted the step up to three miles. He’s a bit slower these days and needs a bit further. He’s really going to have to roll back the years to feature but he’s been a wonderful servant to the yard over the years and I see no reason why he won’t run a big race. That said it’s a big ask.
The trouble with Aintree is that it’s so hard to predict how the horses that ran at Cheltenham will run here having had those hard races. Cue Card, Djakadam and Don Poli all had hard races so it’s just a question of which horse can bounce back from those runs best. It’s hard to see outside the top three but it wouldn’t be the first time an outsider has won it.
In the Aintree Hurdle Annie Power is clearly the one they all have to beat. She’s beaten them all over two miles and I can’t see how they can reverse the form over two and a half miles. You have to respect The New One as he has a good record in this race but I was really impressed by Annie Power at Cheltenham. I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t think she’d win the Champion Hurdle, and not only did she win it, she did it in style and broke the track record. She was phenomenal. It just shows you the strength and depth that Willie Mullins has in his yard, and I’m no longer doubting her that’s for sure.
I ride Un Temps Pour Tout on Friday, and then Thistlecrack in the 3 mile hurdle and Ballynagour in the Grand National on Saturday. I haven’t seen or sat on Thistlecrack since Cheltenham but I spoke to Joe Tizzard and they are all really happy with him. It was a tremendous performance at Cheltenham and I’m hoping for more of the same on Saturday.
The decision to ride Ballynagour, over Soll and Vieux Lion Rouge, in the Grand National was quite a tough one but I just thought he was the horse with Grade one form and that swung it for me. Soll has been round Aintree before but couldn’t win it off a lower mark and is a year older. Ballynagour wouldn’t be the most consistent of horses by any stretch of the imagination but he seems to come right at this time of year. I think he’ll stay and he’s the one of all of David’s that if you said on Saturday night he’d won the Grand National you wouldn’t be surprised because he has form in the book that says he can. His runs with Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti and the like show that he’s got the class and the form to give him a chance.
Sometimes you are confident a horse will take to the fences and they don’t. Other times you aren’t looking forward to riding a horse round there and they jump brilliantly. So it’s hard to second guess. Sometimes you go back to Aintree with a horse that’s run well before and they hate it. I had a great ride on The Package in the Grand National one year then went back to Aintree on him for The Becher Chase and had a horrible ride on him. You can never second guess it.
I love the Grand National. It’s the greatest race. If you asked me which race I’d rather win, The Grand National or The Gold Cup, I’d say the Grand National. They are both great races, and I’d like to win them both, but the Grand National is something else. As a kid all I used to watch was re-runs of the Grand National, I was that excited about the race as a youngster. With Grandad winning it too it has a special place in the family history, and it’s such a wonderful place. To me it’s the greatest race in the world.
A lot’s been said about changing the rules to let certain horses in, previous winners or winners of certain trials, but it should be left alone, with the best horses running. If you’re horse isn’t high enough in the weights then you can’t run and you shouldn’t grumble. I wouldn’t like to see a ‘win and you’re in’ used for the Grand National. If you’re not high enough rated then tough luck.