Tom Scudamore talks up his weekend rides at Aintree and Kelso, but Becher Chase “fiendishly competitive”
Tom Scudamore blog
I was very pleased with Thistlecrack last Saturday. Even in the days since then it’s been fantastic as it gives you so much excitement for the future. Every time I watch it again it fills me with even more confidence for whatever route they want to take next. I’ll leave those decisions up to John and Heather, and Colin. They’ve done right by the horse every step of the way so far, and whichever race they choose next, it will be in the best interests of the horse.
Saturday rides at Aintree
I ride Daisy De Sivola in the first at Aintree at 12.00. She ran really well around Auteuil last time and she looks to have an outstanding chance in this race. It’s a small but select field, but based on her win around Dieppe and then her second in a really good race at Auteuil, she could end up being the one they all have to beat. I ride a fair bit for Nick Williams, though obviously Lizzie Kelly is the main rider for the yard, and have done over the years. He’s a very good trainer. He has a small but select team, and he has some very high quality horses. For a relatively small stable in terms of numbers he does very, very well.
I then ride Banditry in the 1.00. He ran really well on his debut in a decent novice hurdle at Ascot. There are not many runners tomorrow. We probably have Jonjo O’Neill’s horse, Minotaur, to beat based on its French form. Banditry will hopefully have improved for his Ascot experience last time and he should run very satisfactorily. He was a decent horse on the flat. He has his quirks but he has ability.
In the Becher Chase at 1.35 I ride Vieux Lion Rouge for David. It looks a fiendishly competitive race. My horse ran very well in the Grand National until stamina seemed to give way going to the second last. He has some very good form and if he runs as well in this race as he did in the National then he will go very close. His run in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival was also a fine effort, and he is in very good order, so I can see him running a big race. On form you’d have to give him a massive chance.
It’s always a big buzz riding over the Grand National fences. It’s very different at this meeting because Aintree is much quieter than on Grand National day, so it’s a little bit eerie when you go down to the start. You don’t get that at the National as there are crowds everywhere close to the start, but tomorrow there will be almost nobody there.
In the Grand Sefton at 3.15 I ride La Vaticane who ran OK in the Topham over these fences last April. I’d like to see an improvement on that form but she ran very well first time out this season. I have some really good chances at Aintree and she is one of them. She was going to run in a Mares’ Chase on Sunday at Carlisle but it was abandoned. This was always going to be her target but then the Mares’ race cut up, and the prize money was so good, she was diverted to that. But as Carlisle was then off she was put back on target for this. She seems in good order, she ran very well around Market Rasen, and I think she has an outstanding chance.
In the shorter races over the National fences like the Topham and the Grand Sefton it pays to be up with the pace. Not many winners come from too far back. Then when you watch old Grand Nationals the races don’t take shape until after they jump the water and go out on their second circuit. But from then on in, it’s very hard to make a lot of ground. You will get the odd Amberleigh House performance but they are the exception to the rule. In general when you head out on the second circuit you want to be in a reasonably handy position at that point.
Sunday mounts at Kelso
I have three nice rides up at Kelso on Sunday. I ride one for Nick Alexander in the first at 12.20 called Dance Of Fire who was a nice horse on the flat and should have a good chance. I then ride a horse called Kilbree Chief for Lucinda Russell in the four miler at 2.20. Dad is keen on this one. He’s very bullish.
Then I ride Dynaste in the Veterans Chase at 2.50. he’s got to bounce back to form. He has the cheekpieces on. He has top weight. These Veterans Chases are a great initiative and it would be nice to get him back on track. I think this is his grade these days. He was only beaten thirteen lengths in the Charlie Hall, so it wasn’t a bad run, but he’s not quite the horse he was. Hopefully these Veterans races will give him a new lease of life. We are going there with hope rather than confidence.