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Tom Scudamore: “Activial is a realistic outsider in the Ultima.”

Tom Scudamore | 12 March 2019

Cheltenham Festival insight from our racing ambassador

The first couple of days at Cheltenham were always going to be quiet for me. It’s the nature of the Festival now with the Irish so strong that there just aren’t the number of opportunities, and that’s the way it is so you just have to get on with it.

2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase – Activial

I’m sure he’ll get the trip and I think it will actually help him. I was a little bit disappointed with him at Cheltenham last time but Tom’s horses weren’t really firing but his previous two runs were very good.

His horses are running a lot better now. He has plenty of weight but the step up in trip may bring a bit of improvement out in him. He is a realistic outsider.

I’ve won the race three times, twice on Un Temps Pour Tout and once on An Accordion. So it’s a race that has been good to me.

Other thoughts on day one

Warthog runs in the National Hunt Chase for the team. He stayed on much better last time around Haydock but still has a bit to find over this trip.

In the Champion Hurdle, the more I look at it, the more I’m looking at Laurina. Buveur D’Air needs to be a great horse to win three Champions Hurdles and maybe he is.

Apple’s Jade is a wonderful mare and has carried all before her but she did get beaten in the Mares race last year.

Yes, she’s won loads of Grade Ones over various trips and against the boys, but she didn’t have the domination that Annie Power did when she won the Champion Hurdle. So by a process of elimination I have come round to Laurina.

In the Supreme I like Mister Fisher. His form has worked out well and I was very impressed by his Kempton run. I think he’s the best value.

The Arkle is a very open race. They will go really fast in this so you will want something that truly stays.

The more I think about it, the more I am coming down in favour of Kalashnikov.

I think it will be more like a handicap than a Grade One, with a furious pace from the likes of Ornua, Glen Forsa, Knocknanuss. Kalashnikov is going to get the pace that he needs. It depends which Lalor turns up as you can’t ignore his poor run last time.

Tom