Tom Scudamore on Thistlecrack and his other great weekend rides
Top jockey Tom Scudamore previews all of his weekend rides, including some brilliant mounts at Cheltenham…
I went down and schooled Thistlecrack on Thursday, just to tick all the boxes, and he was really good. I was just very pleased with him and he feels like he’s improved again since the King George which is exciting. He’s got to now go and do it again at the track but I couldn’t have been happier with him.
I’m really looking forward to riding him today (2.15pm), I’m always excited to be on him, but I’ve got plenty of rides at Cheltenham to focus on, so I can’t get carried away or get too far ahead of myself.
It’s going to be a good test. He’s facing some new rivals in the Cotswold Chase and I respect them all but there is nothing in the field that on all known form we should be fearful of. We have the upper hand on ratings but the likes of Smad Place and Many Clouds will offer a different test so it’s going to be great fun.
When he ran at Cheltenham in November he raced on the Old Course, and this race is on the New Course which will be the same as he’ll face in the Gold Cup, and that he won the World Hurdle on. The New Course is not quite so sharp as the Old Course, it’s stiffer and not quite so undulating, and there are different tests; for example, the fence at the top of the hill can be quite tricky. So whilst he’s won over fences at Cheltenham this is a different course but it doesn’t hold any fears for us.
My first ride of the day is on Champers On Ice in the 12.35. We are dropping back in trip. I thought he ran reasonably well last time I thought. American was obviously very impressive. Warwick can be quite a sharp track which probably didn’t suit him ideally but he still ran well and we were beaten fair and square. It’s a competitive race today but if the forecast rain materialises then that will suit us. This stiff two miles five will also suit. It’s a competitive handicap and he’s probably got to step up on what he’s done so far.
Ballynagour is my mount in the 1.10pm. He’s been out of form this season so far and he’s got to bounce back, but we know he has it in him to do that.
I ride Elegant Escape in the 3.25. He was impressive when I won on him at Ascot and he ran well in the Challow Hurdle last time. He’s improving and he’s a horse I like. He’s going to make a good stayer in time.
Un Temps Pour Tout is my ride in the Cleeve Hurdle at 4.00. Unowhatimeanharry will be tough to beat but my horse ran a solid enough race in the Long Walk Hurdle and if one or two run below par there is no reason why it couldn’t be his day. He’s a horse that we know has a big race in him and he could surprise a few people. He’s very versatile and goes on any ground, and he’ll be there or thereabouts as usual.
I ride Max Do Brazil in the last at 4.35. It’s his first run for us having come over from France. He seems like a nice horse but we’ll learn more about him today.
On Sunday I head to Fontwell. I ride Accord in the 1.40. I was a bit disappointed with him last time but David Bridgwater’s horses are running a bit better now and I think he would have a cracking chance.
I’m on Cucklington in the 2.10. He’s a typical one of Colin’s that has improved for fences and in what doesn’t look the strongest of races he would have a chance. Then in the 2.40 I’m on Brynmawr. He looks like he’s got plenty to find on what he’s done so far. My final ride is on Tikkapick in the 3.40, another one of Colin’s . He’s found the right race for him, and anything that Colin runs at that level deserves respect.