Tom Scudamore thinks Thistlecrack is the real deal
All went well with my appeal on Thursday which meant that I’m able to ride today. They quashed the ban which was a big relief as it means I can ride over the Christmas period. It was disappointing that I got given the ban in the first place by the Stewards on the day but at least the right decision has been reached in the end. You never can really be sure that an appeal will be successful but after speaking to Rory MacNeice, he convinced me that under the letter of the law in terms of the rules that are in place I had done nothing wrong.
Last Saturday was a success as I went to Lingfield and rode a double. Yes of course it would have been nice to ride two winners at Cheltenham instead but that wasn’t going to happen so that was the end of it. I don’t care where I ride as long as I’m riding winners really. It was good to get Gevrey Chambertin back on track and hopefully it will do his confidence the world of good and get him back on the winning trail.
I feel very sorry for what happened to Sam Twiston-Davies. It was just terribly bad luck. Two horses swerving in the space of three days. I personally don’t think it has anything to do with his riding style. I know he apologised but I didn’t feel he needed to. It wasn’t intentional. He hadn’t dropped his hands in a finish or taken the wrong course. It was just unfortunate and one of those things that happens. I don’t care if you are Lester Piggott, Fred Archer, Gordon Richards and Tony McCoy all rolled into one you wouldn’t have stayed on those horses when they change direction and slow down at that speed. It’s impossible.
I ride Kings Lad in the 1.15pm at Ascot for Colin Tizzard. He won a couple of chases last year and has been running well enough but this is a tough little race. He’s been struggling off this mark recently. He’s been running well without winning off it. Hopefully his luck will change tomorrow.
In the 1.50pm I’m on La Vaticane for David. She’s done little wrong since coming over from France. She ran well at Cheltenham and then ran even better at Newbury just fading from the last fence. I think the 2m 2f will really suit her today. I think she has a favourite’s chance. Ascot should suit, she’s pretty straightforward. Everything is in her favour. Sometimes with these nice horses from France everything clicks straightaway like it did with Dell ‘Arca but I remember riding a horse called Iris Bleu for Martin a few years ago and it took us a year to work him out. Then suddenly he went from looking like an expensive flop to being a very good horse. You never can tell, but sometimes it does take a while for a horse to acclimatise.
In the Long Walk Hurdle at 2.25pm I ride Thistlecrack. On Monday I knew that David had also entered Dynaste so it was clear that they were likely to end up meeting. So when David confirmed that Dynaste was an intended runner he said that he was happy for me to ride Thistlecrack but that I’d better sort it out with Dynaste’s owner. So I rang John White and he very kindly gave me his blessing to go and ride Thistlecrack. It’s not a decision that I would ever take lightly and I don’t like getting off David’s horses, particularly a horse like Dynaste who’s been so good to me. We’ve had so many good days together. But I just felt that this time with the race being over hurdles the right choice was to ride Thistlecrack.
Thistlecrack has a favourite’s chance. It’s a competitive race as you’d expect. You’ve got to respect Saphir Du Rheu and Reve De Sivola. There are some really good horses in the race. But I think everyone else will be scared of Thistlecrack given the way he won last time. And I think there’s more to come from him as well, and today we’ll see how much more there is to come. He was a high class novice hurdler and he stepped up on that form at Newbury. I think he’s the real deal.
I think that Dynaste will run well. He was a good hurdler but I think he became better over fences. Over hurdles I suspect that the likes of Saphir Du Rheu and Thistlecrack will just have the edge over him but I think he’ll be bang there. I am sure he’ll be going back over fences in the near future, but it wouldn’t be a big shock however to see him run very well.
I ride one of my old favourites, The Giant Bolster, in the 3.00pm and the handicapper has been very kind and dropped him 7lbs since Newbury. I thought he ran really well there. I think Ascot will suit him and he’s a massive price given his run in the Hennessy. There’s no way he should be such a big price. He is a bit of a character and an in and out performer but if he runs as well today as he did last time out I think he’ll be placed at worst. I suspect he may even improve for that last run.
In the Ladbroke Hurdle at 3.35pm I’m on Bidourey. He promised a lot and was a good novice hurdler. He has struggled in the handicaps so far. He ran OK in the Greatwood for a long way but he still looks a tad high in the handicap. This race and the Betfair Hurdle are the two toughest handicap hurdles going before you get to the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. He’s certainly going to have to step up on what he’s shown so far.