Grand National 2017 | Coral’s Grand Splash-ional!
Coral is celebrating this year’s Grand National – one of the most exciting events in the horse racing calendar – by moving the action to the water at the Liverpool Water Sports Centre. Featuring six graceful flyboarders, we’ve teamed the grace of champion racehorses with Iron Man-like technology for a thrilling race like no other you’ve seen before. Watch below to see who emerges victorious in Coral’s Grand Splash-ional!
The Coral Grand Splashional
Got a favourite? Why not use the outcome of our race to pick your Grand National horse in the real race at Aintree on April 8th? Up to £200m will be wagered in Britain on what is the biggest betting race in the world and over a third of the adult population in the country will have a flutter. Place your bets here.
Tom Scudamore and the 2017 Grand National
Eagle-eyed viewers will spot the silks of Coral ambassador Tom Scudamore out on the water, representing him and his Grand National mount Vieux Lion Rouge.
There’s no doubt Tom has horse racing in his blood. When he takes part in this year’s Grand National, he will be running in the same hoofprints as his grandfather 58 years previously, when Michael Scudamore took home the title on Oxo. “I’ve always had great pride and pleasure knowing that my grandad won the Grand National, and that feeling just gets stronger as you get older”, says Tom. “I never stop marvelling at the fact that he managed to win this great race. It’s something I’m just incredibly proud of.”
If your grandfather winning the Grand National in 1959 wasn’t heritage enough, then how about your father winning the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival twice? Yes, eight-time Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore rode Celtic Shot and Granville Again to glory in 1988 and 1993, respectively.
However, just as Tom is used to witnessing the ups and downs of the horses taking on the hurdles, he also saw the ups and downs of success. He’s heard the stories of his grandfather riding to victory on Linwell in the 1957 Gold Cup, but he’s also witnessed his father’s defeat in the Grand National. “One of my first memories of racing was going to the Grand National in 1988 when my Dad rode Strands of Gold, and I’ve never missed one since”, says Tom. “I remember the excitement of Dad being in front, and then the utter disappointment I felt when he fell at Bechers Brook when in front second time around. That was a long journey home that day. Then there was all the excitement and disappointments after that. I felt the disappointments quite personally.”
“The only time I remember [my father] being really disappointed was when rode Strands of Gold. It wasn’t something that irked him or ate away at him. It’s just like any big race: you want to win it, and you do your best to win it, but if it doesn’t happen, what can you do?”
Tom himself was caught by Synchronised on the last hurdle in the 2012 Gold Cup and lost the chance of Gold Cup glory this year due to Thistlecrack’s injury.
The waves of change
Tom Scudamore is a jockey whose family has ridden the waves of change – both in the progression of the races and attitudes to the sport. Michael Scudamore, who passed away in 2014, was a man who took on great brick-wall fences in the Grand National with no body armour or helmet. Coming from a time of war veterans, though, Michael only ever saw the potentially dangerous sport as nothing other than a glorious game, with few rules and everything to play for.
On the other hand, Peter Scudamore was believed to be a ‘hard man’ with an ‘intense’ demeanour when it came to the sport. Tom’s father was the first of jump racing’s ‘ultra-professionals’ and saw horse racing as a pastime that was to be taken seriously, with the jockey’s performance being responsible for the racing team’s livelihoods.
The best advice that Peter ever gave Tom was to learn to ride the race, rather than the occasion. It was this – along with his grandfather’s legacy – that saw him ride 100 winners in a season for the first time (2013-2014 campaign). Tom’s favourite Festival win was aboard Next Sensation in the A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival 2015. Tom rode the race for his brother, trainer Michael, six months after their grandfather’s death.
Between Tom, his brother Michael and his father Peter, they’ve had around 50 attempts at emulating their grandfather’s National win. Although Peter Scudamore won 13 times at the Cheltenham Festival, his best finish in the Grand National was third in 1985, riding Corbiere.
This season, Tom has already gained a victory in the King George VI Chase. He will be taking on the Aintree fences aboard Vieux Lion Rouge, who rode to victory at this year’s Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock. Will 2017 be the year that Tom takes home the title – and adds a second Scudamore to the list of Grand National winners?
Tom’s Reaction to the Grand Splash-ional
“It was great to see Vieux Lion Rouge win, but I certainly won’t be doing a loop-the-loop if I win the real version on Saturday. Flyboarding looked great fun, though I’m not sure I’d be very good at it; all that going down head-first. I’m not sure my body could take doing that. It certainly looked interesting. I’m not really a water-sports type. I try to keep out of the water really. I’ve never been a great swimmer. My Dad and my brother like the water and going out in boats. They have sea legs. I’m more like my Grandad. He didn’t have sea legs either. Let’s hope for the same result on Saturday when I ride Vieux Lion Rouge in the Grand National!”
Get your expert tips and predictions for this year’s Grand National Festival right here at Coral News.