Tom Scudamore talks Thistlecrack in the King George and his other Boxing Day rides
Tom Scudamore blog: Thistlecrack King George chances
I found out last Sunday morning that Thistlecrack was definitely running in the King George rather than the novice chase. I was absolutely delighted to hear the news as it is not every year that you get to ride the favourite or second-favourite for a race of this prestige.
The owners had asked me a few questions a week ago about how I thought the horse had progressed and would cope with everything. They’ve come to the decision that it is now time to take on the big boys. We’ve had three runs over fences now and everything has gone right for him. You have to take your opportunities while they are there and that was the unanimous decision from the team.
I’m trying not to get too sucked into the Thistlecrack vs Cue Card theme because there are other good horses in the race. You only have to look back a few years ago when it was billed as Kauto Star vs Denman in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then Imperial Commander won the race. You have to respect all the challengers in the race.
I’m a massive Cue Card fan. I’ve ridden against him on a number of occasions and he is a fantastic racehorse but so are Silviniaco Conti, Tea For Two and Josses Hill, who was particularly impressive around Huntingdon last time out. You certainly cannot take your eye off the ball.
I know the strengths of my horse. I’ve done lots of homework so I am very relaxed going into the race. I’ve got an idea of the different scenarios of how the race may pan out. When you feel prepared and ready, it makes you feel confident.
The fact that there is only a small field means there is nothing to get in the way. All the horses are there by merit and they all have every chance of winning.
Churchtown Champ and Dell’ Arca also among Kempton rides
I have a couple of days where I can rest now and some time to spend with the family. From Christmas Day onwards though, you have to put your professional head back on and starting preparing for the following day.
I got the news yesterday that I will be riding Churchtown Champ for the Coral Champions Club in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase which I am really pleased about. He won really nicely at Southwell last time out. It would be great for everyone if he can put in a good performance in what is a Grade One race. As a Coral ambassador, it is a nice situation to be in riding a horse for the Coral Champions Club members.
He is certainly not without a chance. Frodon looks to be the horse we all have to beat. They are stepping him up in trip though. He looks like he will get the three miles but you there are never any guarantees. My horse doesn’t have to improve a lot to be there. The form at Southwell has worked out well so he goes there with hope.
In the final race at Kempton, I ride my old friend Dell’ Arca. He’s got to bounce back to form though. He’s been a wonderful servant for the yard. We have had some great days with him. He seems in good form at home and he’s coming back the weights so it would not be the biggest surprise if he was to run well.
Merry Christmas everyone