Tom Scudamore says Melodic is the one he’d like to be on
All I’ve been doing this last week is rehab. I’m hoping to sit on a horse again in the next couple of days, and am very happy with the way everything’s gone. The Rehab is going to get even harder again next week but I’m where I want to be, and hopefully I’ll be back riding on the track sometime next week. I still intend to be back for Cheltenham next weekend. I really haven’t done anything else. As the knee has been getting better, I’ve been upping the work.
I was disappointed that Dynaste was beaten last Saturday but Cue Card is fantastic. He probably ran back to his best, and if he did then they both ran very similar to their Betfair Chase form of two years ago. Ballynagour ran well too.
I saw Silviniaco Conti’s run on Monday but I missed Vibrato Valtat winning The Haldon Chase as I was up at Bristol Rugby Club for some rehab. Paul knows what he’s doing and I’m sure he was very pleased with Silviniaco Conti. I’m sure he’ll improve for the run, but he’s going to have to. It was a pleasing reappearance. I’m sure they’ll take plenty of positives from it.
In the Badger Ales Chase at 2.05 at Wincanton I’m very interested in The Ould Lad for Paul Nicholls. He looked like a horse that didn’t quite achieve what they were hoping for last year but because of that he starts off this season on what you’d hope would be a very good mark. I just think he’s a horse to follow for a bit. I’ve always liked him he just didn’t live up to expectations last year. He ran second at Cheltenham but then didn’t rise to that level again. Today he has the right weight, just 10-2 on his back. If he’s going to achieve what they want him to then today is a big day and a good starting point.
In the Elite Hurdle at 3.15 at Wincanton I’m going for the other end of the spectrum, Melodic Rendezvous. He’s one pound higher than when he won it a year ago. I don’t think it’s as strong a race as when he won it. You have to respect Paul’s horse All Yours, a Grade 1 winner. Francis of Assisi long term could be anything but his three wins so far haven’t been against horses of this calibre who are nearly Champion Hurdle class. With Melodic Rendezvous the handicapper has given him a chance and he loves Wincanton. The race should be run to suit so he’s the one I want to be on.
Over at Aintree the Betfair Hurdle is interesting. Nowadays with all the developments in training racehorses it’s not uncommon for horses to come back off a long layoff and be as good as ever and win. The biggest issue really is age as the longer you have had off, and the older you get, the harder it becomes. Simonsig was in training for a bit last year, and then they had to stop. But he really has to be fit today as they don’t want to risk another injury. So they’ll have him as wound up as they can get. He’ll improve for the run but I don’t expect him to be lacking in fitness. He might lack match practice but not fitness. If they have any aspirations of taking on the best horses then he has to run well. It’s good to see him back. Let’s hope he fulfils all the potential he showed as a novice.
It will be great to see Coneygree back on the track on Sunday at Sandown. The Gold Cup last year was an extraordinary race. I don’t think I’ve gone so fast for so long in my life. What he did as a novice last season has if anything been slightly under-estimated and it’s good to see him back. To win one Gold Cup you have to be the best on the day, and then to win it again, you have to maintain that level of form over a period of time. To run in big races all the time there is no hiding place. You have to be on top of your game, and consistent. We’ve been blessed with the likes of Best Mate and Kauto Star who’ve been able to come back year after year. That’s the difference between the great horses and just the good ones. They have to have the constitution to keep running big races year after year. The way Coneygree won the Gold Cup last year you’d say he has the potential to become a great horse but has he got the constitution to be one, and that’s up to him.
It’s good to see my old weighing room colleague AP McCoy joining the Channel 4 Racing team. I think he’ll do a good job of it. He’s got a good sense of humour and he comes across well. Just because you’re a top sportsman doesn’t mean you’re going to make a natural broadcaster but every time he’s been on television I’ve always found him engaging and insightful. So I think he’ll be a great addition to the Channel 4 team. It’s good that he’s remaining in racing and has found something interesting to do.