Tom Scudamore assesses his Saturday and Sunday rides
Top jockey Tom Scudamore talks us through his weekend rides and the abuse jockeys get on social media…
There’s a lot been written this week about the stick that Ciaran Gethings got on social media about his unseat last week at Hereford on Deckers Delight. The reality is that when you are a sportsman you are going to be open to criticism, and that’s always been the case. You only have to look at the amount of stick John Barnes, and other footballers, received back in the 1980s and 1990s. You have to accept that, and it’s only when it crosses the line, and becomes abuse or threats, that it’s seriously wrong. I remember the awful abuse that AP McCoy got after Synchronised sadly died in the Grand National, and the abuse that Brendan Powell Junior got when he took the wrong course at Fakenham. It was absolutely disgusting some of the abuse they received.
You have to put that in perspective though as on other occasions people will question everything and anything, and they do have a right to ask those questions, whether you agree with them or not. You have to be open to criticism. You can’t become too precious just because you disagree with what’s being asked or said.
I feel sympathy for Ciaran. He did well to stay on at first but then lost his balance. And these things will happen, and he would have been the first to think “ that’s embarrassing I wish I’d stayed on”. But you dust yourself off and you have to move on.
It’s easier not to look at social media. Sometimes people ring me up in hysterics at some of the stuff that’s been written on forums or twitter, and you just have to laugh at it. But there are lots of people passionate about racing and these forums are there for them to talk about racing and that’s great for the sport overall. It’s only when the line is crossed and you start getting called a crook, or people are wishing you to be dead that it gets unpleasant.
As a jump jockey there are going to be tough times. When you are sitting on a hospital bed, with an injury, you’re first thought is “when am I going to be back”. You just have to be tough. I remember Ruby Walsh saying that about young, up and coming jockeys, however good they are, it’s when they get their first injury you find out whether they are going to bounce back. It’s a tough life and you have to be mentally resilient to deal with the injuries and to deal with the criticism that you will inevitably get, and sadly sometimes the abuse, however unacceptable that is. You have got to have a very thick skin in this sport.
I’m riding seven at Taunton and, if Ascot is lost to the frost, a couple of the races will be live on ITV Racing which is great news. I don’t know if Taunton has ever been televised so that would be great for the racecourse.
He ran a nice race first time out at Taunton. I was pleased with him. He showed a good level of form and he should be competitive in this race. There are probably three in it that can win it and he’s one of them.
He disappointed last time at Plumpton which was only five days ago. We’ve decided to have a crack again here. He ran well the time before at Taunton. He could bounce back and must have a chance.
He is an “in and out” performer but it was one of his better runs last time at Kempton. If he is in the same frame of mind and the same form as he was last time at Kempton I think he’ll take a fair bit of beating on this. He isn’t the most consistent though. He is capable on his day but he’s still 10lbs higher in the weights than when he won the Greatwood off 128 so he’s constantly battling with the handicapper.
He doesn’t seem to have shown an awful lot so far. He fell when beaten over hurdles at Ffos Las. He will have to improve an awful lot.
He’s been running well. Everything should suit. His last run was a bit disappointing but if he bounced back to his Newbury run the time before he’d have a good chance. With Pearls Legend in there they will go a good gallop and that will suit him.
The ground was too soft for him around Sandown last time. I think the better conditions will see him in a better light. He was a high quality horse on the flat and he jumped well on his debut. Hopefully he can build on that. We threw him in at the deep end in the Tolworth and he just struggled in the ground. I pulled him up to save him for another day. He’d shown plenty for much of the race and I was pleased with him. In this company I’d be disappointed if he’s not very competitive.
He’s taken time to find his feet over fences. Although he’s finished second twice, jumping errors have got in the way and have probably prevented him getting his head in front. I won on him over hurdles last year. He ran well last time and he would have a chance here.
It’s his first run for 459 days. Michael is pleased with him and he’s as fit as he can get him at home, but he will improve for the run.
He was declared to run at Chepstow but if he does turn up here he’d have a leading chance in a moderate race. David Rees trains down in Wales and I’ve had a few winners for him. He’s a good man to ride for and like all those Welsh trainers he’s very shrewd.
He’s an interesting horse. He’s come over from France and it’s his first run in this country. We’ve been pleased with all he’s done at home and he will relish the conditions.
He looks like he will have to improve, but David has found the right race for him and hopefully this low grade race will suit him.
I have plenty of rides over the two days, many with chances, but I’d probably say my best two chances were Dell’ Arca on Saturday and Max Do Brazil on Sunday.
Like the look of any of Tom’s rides this Saturday and Sunday? Then get yourself over to Coral and get your bets on now!