Tom Scudamore thinks King’s Palace is unbeatable in the RSA Chase
I’m looking forward to riding King’s Palace in the RSA Chase (2.05pm). I’m very confident. I think the world of the horse. It’s up to him to go and show it today. I think that he’s unbeatable but I thought the same about him going in to last year’s Albert Bartlett, and I was wrong. Hopefully this year I’ll be right. I’m sure Bryan Cooper will be thinking the same about Don Poli and Neil Mulholland’s team will be thinking the same about The Young Master. People are saying he has to make the running, but when you go through all his form he’s only made the running twice. The thing that’s improved him, and is the difference between this year and last year, is that he’s had a wind operation. That’s made him much more relaxed. Last year I jumped the second last and he faded before falling, this year I hope he’ll keep on going.
The ground yesterday was good ground really, maybe just the soft side of good. It was fair for everybody. The ones that wanted soft ground were able to handle it and the horses that wanted real top of the ground ran really well on it. It will be more of the same today.
Dell’ Arca, my mount in the Coral Cup at 2.40pm, has the headgear on. He’s wearing blinkers. He’s running off a similar mark to when he ran in the race last year, and he wasn’t quite good enough then. Hopefully the blinkers will help balance that out. He’s run some good races and he’s run some bad races. He hasn’t had the same consistency that he had last year when he won the Greatwood and ran well in the Betfair Hurdle. Having said all that, his run at Cheltenham was an outstanding performance. Hopefully with the blinkers on he can put his best foot forward.
In the Coral Cup I’ve had some good rides and some bad rides. It’s the same as lots of races at Cheltenham in that if you are on a horse that’s good enough to hold a position the Coral Cup is a great race to ride in. That’s the joy of Cheltenham as it’s the best place to ride at and the worst. It’s all about how your horse is travelling and jumping and you find out your horse’s weaknesses there. Just like Dell’ Arca last year. I know he didn’t win but I had a fabulous ride on him. He was absolutely brilliant. But I can also remember four or five horrible rides in the race. These big handicaps are just so tough to win. You just have to be able to jump and travel and do it at speed. There’s absolutely no hiding place.
I’m not riding in the Champion Chase at 3.20pm but I’d be with Sire De Grugy. He disappointed at Newbury but whatever problems he had were gone by Chepstow where he was nothing short of fantastic. Generally if they’ve won one Champion Chase and they arrive the next year, they do it again. I think that’s the best piece of form. I respect the rest and the way Willie Mullins’ horses performed on day one you’d put Champagne Fever up there as a serious contender. But I think Sire De Grugy will win the race again.
In the Fred Winter at 4.40pm I’m on Unanimite for David Pipe. He’ll like the drying ground. It’s another fiercely competitive handicap and there are plenty in there with a chance. He’s run some good races already but this was his objective and he has the better ground. I’m sure there will be plenty of connections fancying their chances tomorrow and it’s a very hard race to win.
I’m on Moon Racer in the Bumper at 5.15pm and I’m happy with him. He won at Cheltenham in October, but he didn’t just win, he absolutely annihilated them. His win at Fairyhouse before that has worked out very well. I think he’s very good. But the Bumper is a hard race to be very confident to be about because there are lots of unknown horses that have come and won it before. Briar Hill was a big price when he won it, so was Cue Card. There are so many unbeaten horses going into it. Patrick Mullins has won more bumpers than anyone and hand on heart I don’t think he knows which horse is the best of the Willie Mullins horses never mind all the other runners. What I do know is that Moon Race is very good, better than all the other horses that I’ve ridden in that race. I was fourth in it on The Liquidator and Moon Race would compare very favourably to him.