Scudamore gives his thoughts on Sandown and Cheltenham
In the Arkle Trophy on Tuesday, Sail By The Sea has the same owner, trainer, jockey combination as last year’s winner and realistically he’s going in there with the same sort of chance as it looked with Western Warhorse. That said I would have said that on their respective merits at this time just days before the race that Sail By The Sea was a better horse than Western Warhorse going into the Arkle, but of course Western Warhorse left all his previous form behind and produced an exceptional run.
Sail By The Sea has always been a horse we’ve thought a bit of. He hasn’t stood a lot of racing but he’s a horse we like a lot. He won nicely at Chepstow and needed the run at Plumpton and has been showing good signs since then. Those are the pluses. The minuses are that it’s a cracking race and in Un De Sceaux we are taking on arguably the strongest favourite of the whole week. In a normal year Vibrato Valtat and the others would look tough to beat but Un De Sceaux looks pretty special. There are doubts about his jumping, and he’s fallen once this season, but from what I’ve seen of him he’s going to be very difficult to beat. He looks like the real deal.
Gevrey Chambertin is the most likely of David’s to get in the Ultima Business Solutions Chase and he is therefore my most likely ride in the race. He won well last time at Newbury. He’s never really run well at Cheltenham before but I’m hoping that’s just a coincidence rather than whether he likes the place or not. He needs a few to come out, The Package needs more to come out and Standing Ovation needs even more to come out.
Swing Bowler will be an outsider in the Mares Hurdle. If Annie Power turns up, her form from last year will make her very hard to beat, and if she doesn’t turn up for any reason then they have a very good reserve in Glen’s Melody. They look different class to the rest. Some prize money is the best we can hope for.
I sat on King’s Palace (RSA Chase) during the week and was very happy with him. His last schooling session went well. I’m really pleased with where we are with him. It looks a good race but I’m looking forward to it and it’s time for the talking to stop. There are some people saying he can only deal with a small field, well if that’s true we are quite lucky as it looks like it’s going to be a small field. He’s very versatile. He doesn’t have to make the running. Yes he’s enthusiastic and he enjoys his racing but he doesn’t need to lead. I made the running on him last time because it was a two runner race. I made the running at Cheltenham because nobody wanted to make the running. First time up I didn’t make the running at all. The ‘King’s Palace has to make the running’ line is a bit of a myth to be honest.
Unanimite is one of our challengers for the Fred Winter, along with Bidourey, and he’s a horse we like a lot. I sat on him during the week and he went well. My Fred Winter picture will become clearer after the Imperial Cup and Bidourey, but he’s a very good contender in his own right. He’s a good string to David’s bow. From a personal point of view I’m hoping that he has two strings to his bow in the Fred Winter because that will have meant Bidourey has won the Imperial Cup.
Moon Racer runs in the Bumper and he has been the most impressive Bumper winner this side of the Irish Sea. But with the Bumper there is always so much untapped talent in there you never know what you have in there until the day. There are all kinds of horses that you’ve never heard of that go on to become household names like Cue Card or Briar Hill. They come from seemingly nowhere.
It’s a wide open World Hurdle and I see no reason why Un Temps Pour Tout can’t win it. There are plenty in there with a chance. Noel on Zarkander, Saphir De Rheu, Rock On Ruby, Lieutenant Colonel, Whisper, they will all be fancying their chances. But there’s nothing I’ve seen that doesn’t make me think he has a good chance. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in the winner’s enclosure.
Baraka De Thaix in the Triumph would have a chance on his one run. He disappointed last time and hasn’t been seen since. Off his one run at Cheltenham he deserves his place. That was a decent run behind Golden Doyen and Hargam but he’s got to bounce back to that form. Similar sentiments would apply to Stars Over The Sea who blew horses away on his first two starts and then disappointed last time. He was a very good Flat horse.
I haven’t sat on The Giant Bolster recently but then I never sat on him before previous Gold Cups. I sat on him back in October time and I’m looking forward to getting back on him, and taking them on again. I’m looking forward to it. It’s great to have a ride in the race for a start. It’s a very deep race but I don’t think it’s a better race than this time last year. The Giant Bolster is going into the race in the same kind of form as last year and there’s no reason why he can’t run a good race. I think you’re looking at the same horses again that are likely to be there or thereabouts. Lord Windermere and Silviniaco Conti. The Giant Bolster never runs well until he gets to the Festival and seems to come alive there. He loves Cheltenham and I see no reason why he won’t run another massive race.
Monetaire is a grand horse. He won well at Newbury. He’s obviously got some pretty big shoes to fill, given the colours he wears, with Salut Flo and Ballynagour winning at previous Festivals. I don’t know which race he’ll go for. It will probably be out of the Grand Annual or the Plate.
The Imperial Cup at Sandown has a full field and is 6/1 the field. With my horse, Bidourey, all the clichés are going to come out. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s got all the potential. The honest truth is we just don’t know. He could be 10lbs well in. He could be 10lbs badly in. He’s a horse I like a lot. He’s obviously been a good servant for us. He’s won five races on the bounce, four of them for us, three over hurdles. Everything we have asked him to do, he’s done, and he’s done it impressively. He’s beaten nothing, but he’s beaten them in a style that you’d hope a good horse would do. Tomorrow we are going to find out. He feels like he’s ready for the step up in class, and ready for the big field. But the only way we’ll learn the answer to the questions is tomorrow. I’d love to say that he’s an absolute aeroplane but he feels like a good horse. In terms of the Cheltenham bonus, the Imperial Cup is his target and we’ll get through that first,
I ride Mount Haven in the 2.00pm and he’s got one or two good bits of form. It’s been disappointing not to get his head in front. He’s a really likeable individual, he’s just got to get it together. I’m on Anay Turge in the 4.55pm and had a good year last year, not so good this year. He’s been dropping down the handicap and it’s his most realistic chance so far. Sandown should suit him but it’s probably a watching brief. He’s got the form in the book but he’s got to bounce back to it. I had a double for Nigel Hawke yesterday and his horses are running well. That gives me some confidence.