Tom Scudamore on his Ascot rides and Haydock fancies this Saturday
Tom Scudamore blog
My week’s been a bit frustrating. What summed it up was yesterday. I went all the way to Towcester for one ride, only for the horse to be pulled out twenty minutes before the race. At least now, a jockey gets half his riding fee when that happens, so it paid for the diesel there and back.
But eighteen months ago, I’d have gone all the way there and got nothing, so it would cost me a day of my life and financially as well. It’s absolutely right that a jockey gets compensated for his costs, even if the horse is taken out. The decision not to run the horse was absolutely right.
The ground had got too soft and the connections did what was right for the horse. But it would have been both annoying and unfair to have gone all the way there and then not got paid anything, as used to be the case. As it is, it was still a frustrating day.
Buster Thomas won nicely last Saturday at Lingfield, and I’m sure he’ll improve a lot for that experience too. It was a decent performance and he is going to make a really nice staying chaser in time.
I was actually surprised he was able to run so well over 2m 3f. He’s not the real deal yet, but he is going to make up into a lovely horse. Hopefully he can be a similar type to his brother, Shotgun Paddy, and that would be very exciting.
Ascot rides December 17
I’m riding Dusky Lark for Colin Tizzard at 1.50 at Ascot on Saturday. He didn’t jump very well around Kempton last time when he was second, but he has run a few decent races before that, and has run at all the big tracks, so hopefully that was just a bad day at the office. If he had jumped better that day he would have won. This is a more competitive race but he’s still improving so he has a shot.
In the Long Walk Hurdle at 2.25 I ride Un Temps Pour Tout. In the Hennessy he just didn’t run his race, for whatever reason. He’s better than that. He’s a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, and he’s still very good over fences, but maybe he’s a better hurdler than a chaser.
He hasn’t quite run to the same level over fences as he has over hurdles anyway. He’s around 14/1 in the Long Walk and I think he’s overpriced. He doesn’t have an awful lot to find to be in the money. Uknowhatimeanharry is a worthy favourite. He might be the next Thistlecrack, or he might be the next Black Jack Ketchum. Who knows? Un Temps Pour Tout definitely doesn’t have to find much to be in the mix.
The staying division is quite open. The first and the second from last year’s World Hurdle have both gone novice chasing, so it’s crying out for a horse to come along and grab hold of the division.
I ride The Druid’s Nephew in the 3.00. He must have a good chance. He ran very well in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April when a never nearer fifth. It’s a competitive race but he has the form and I think he has a cracking chance.
Obviously I can’t be in two places at once, but up at Haydock there are two horses in the same race that are worth keeping an eye on. David Pipe runs a nice horse called Great Tempo who I was really impressed with when he won at Hexham and gets all the age allowances. He has a good chance.
However there is also a horse that I rode last time call Le Rocher, who is lurking off a decent handicap mark, and ran really well first time out, after the best part of three years off the track. I think he will be very hard to beat, but Great Tempo is also a nice horse and should run well.
I’m going to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve never been able to go before. It would be wonderful if Nick Skelton could win, given the connection with Racing through Dan and Harry, and hopefully lots of people will vote for him.
I’ve known Nick an awful long time and got one of my first ponies from Nick. So it would be amazing if he won or at least finished in the top three. That said Andy Murray is the greatest British sportsman of all time, so realistically he is the most likely winner. For him to achieve what he did this year, winning Wimbledon, winning the Olympic Gold, and ending the year as the World Number One, it would be a travesty if he didn’t win it.
I will have a sit on Thistlecrack next week before his intended target. As Colin has been saying it’s 50/50 whether he runs in the King George or the Feltham. We had a good chat about it during the week but I’ll leave it to them to decide which way to go. A lot will depend on the ground conditions and what runs in both races. I have three days off for Christmas so I will be able to enjoy that with the kids. On Christmas Day I’ll enjoy the morning with the kids but come the afternoon I will be thinking about Thistlecrack.