Scudamore says: “I’d be disappointed if he got beat and I hardly ever say that in a big handicap”
I don’t have a ride in the JLT Novices’ Chase at 1.30pm but it looks a fantastic race. I have been mightily impressed with Bristol De Mai. Garde La Victoire has been ok but then again you can never drop a horse who keeps winning. L’Ami Serge I should imagine will be a better horse on Good ground. Then you have Outlander and Black Hercules. The list goes on. If you twist my arm, I would be with Bristol De Mai. It’s going to be a race to savour.
In the Pertemps at 2.10pm, unfortunately I’ll be sat watching this. Cup Final looked good at Musselburgh last time. Barry has chosen to ride Leave at Dawn interestingly though. If In Doubt, when he puts it together, is a good horse. His jumping has been an issue in the past but not so much over hurdles. JP McManus normally is the man to follow in this race and if I had to choose it would be Cup Final for me.
I take up the ride of Dynaste in the Ryanair Chase at 2.40pm. The race has certainly changed now that Vautour has been confirmed. I think we will run well but you have to be realistic and Vautour is going to be hard to beat. I think he would have won the Gold Cup. It depends on the pace of the race but I’ll have my eye on Vautour. Village Vic will be taking the favourite on early in the contest. If something did go wrong with Vautour it would bring Dynaste into play but otherwise he is a superstar.
It is the World Hurdle at 3.30pm and this is the one we have been looking forward to all week with Thistlecrack. It is very hard to pick holes in. It is obviously going to be a different challenge but one that I feel he is capable of. He is a very simple horse to ride. He has the speed to win over two miles and has proven he stays the three mile trip. In my mind I will go out and get a decent position. A bit like how I rode Un Temps Pour Tout yesterday and how I ride Cheltenham generally. The ground should be fine. It’s a bit like football and cricket, you only worry about getting the start right and then the rest looks after itself. Steve Harmison against the Aussies in the famous 2005 series split someone’s head open and it set the pace. Four years later it ended up in Andrew Flintoff’s hands in fourth slip.
At 4.10pm it is the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate I ride Kings Palace. The stable have a few in this. I think he will improve for his last run at Chepstow. I rode him earlier in the week and I was very happy with him. We also run La Vaticane. I rode her at Wincanton last time. She probably would have won anyway but the horse she was alongside fell but has come out and won since. I would not be putting people off backing her but I do think it is a big step up for her. Ballynagour is right at the top of the weight. He could pick up and carry these on his back if he was at his best.He is very in and out though. The handicapper has given him a bit of a chance. He is a Grade One horse when things go right. It wasn’t a difficult decision when it came to choose what I would ride though as I’ve always had a lot of belief in Kings Palace and it is up to him to start repaying that belief. His last couple of runs have been nothing short of disappointing but I still believe there is a big race in him and hopefully tomorrow is the day.
I don’t have a ride in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at 4.50pm but I do like Limini. I would not discount Smart Talk, she is a big price. It does not look a race full of depth so Limini looks the one and it is hers to lose.
Finally, in the Kim Muir at 5.30pm, the team won this race last year. As sweet as I was with The Package 12 months ago, I am even sweeter with Doctor Harper. The trip will suit and he has a decent amateur booked. It was a toss-up between either running on day one or in the Kim Muir. The fact we fancied Un Temps Pour Tout yesterday says a lot about this horse’s chances. If Garde La Victoire was to win the JLT Novices’ Chase, he will shorten in price straight away as he has form with the horse. I’d be disappointed if he got beat and I hardly ever say that in a big handicap.