Tom Scudamore gives his exclusive thoughts on Thistlecrack after Novices’ Chase triumph
Coral racing ambassador Tom Scudamore gives his exclusive thoughts to us on Thistlecrack, after riding him to success in the Novices’ Chase at Newbury on Saturday…
“He’s maturing as he goes along”
He was just very professional as always, took everything in his stride and was really attacking his fences today. To be honest I’ve been pleased with him until now but today he showed that he’s maturing as he goes along and that was very, very impressive.
When the tapes go up, it’s just the same as a footballer having his first touch, or a Rugby player making their first tackle or a batsman facing his first ball, you’re not trying to do anything special, you’re just making sure you get the first fence right, and the rest will flow from there. If a batsman has a streaky four off a bad shot, or plays and misses, it sets him back, and it’s the same for a horse if he jumps the first badly. But if you play a nice, solid forward defensive and everything’s in line, and the ball hits the middle of the bat, it sets you up nicely, and it’s the same for a horse if he jumps the first well. It’s the same in any sport. Get the first touch, the first pass, the first shot, right and it should all flow nicely from there.
All the way through I was just concentrating on doing everything right, and keeping doing more of the same. I wanted to let him do his own thing and let him learn. The easiest horses to ride are the intelligent ones, like Thistlecrack, who you don’t need to help too much. You just want to allow them to find their own way, and only give them help when you sense they need it. That’s what the likes of McCoy and Walsh do so well. You don’t want to be helping horses too much because when you ride horses that do need more help it’s taking energy out of both you and the horse to do that.
“I hardly needed to help Thistlecrack at all”
What you want is when a horse gets in a bit tight to a fence that they find a way to get over it. It’s not a beauty contest, I don’t care how they get to the other side, as long as they do get to the other side, and get to the other side running.
Today I hardly needed to help Thistlecrack at all, maybe a bit over the first couple just to allow him to start to work it out. But very quickly he began to work it out for himself and from then on it was just a case of ensuring I did my bit and he did his bit.
I really enjoyed it. He was so good. You couldn’t help but be really impressed with his performance. Yes, there will be bigger challenges to come, but he took on better horses today and he blew them away. It’s a pleasure to be associated with a horse like him.