Scudamore confident in Soll National challenge
Un Temps Pour Tout, my mount in the 2.50pm, has got to improve from Cheltenham. To be honest I was a little disappointed that he didn’t finish closer there. He ran OK. There were no real excuses. He has the blinkers on for the first time which will hopefully help him, especially around here on a sharper track.
When horses wear blinkers for the first time it sometimes gets that little bit more out of them. It doesn’t always work but more often than not it does. There is always a stigma attached rather unfairly to wearing blinkers. Often horses wearing them are tagged as ungenuine which is nonsense really. You are usually just trying to get that ounce or two more out of their performance with them.
Blinkers stop the distractions, keep them concentrating as they can only see what’s in front of them. Whether it’s a blinker or a visor it does make a difference. It might not make them run faster but it can help with their jumping. It can encourage them to attack their fences when perhaps they’re backing off them. I see no reason why the blinkers won’t work for Un Temps Pour Tout. He’s had them on at home. If they do eke out a bit of improvement then he’ll be there or thereabouts.
In the big race at 4.15pm I’m on Soll. I was walking the course yesterday and I was thinking how the races around the National fences are just different from other races in that you don’t have a game plan. The main thing in your mind, and it’s not a negative thing it’s obvious, is that unless you survive you are not going to win. So you set yourself small targets like “I’m going to get to the water jump”, then it’s “I’m going to get to Valentines” and then see where you are. The most important thing is getting there and then you start to ride a race. So in the Topham it’s about first getting to the water. In the Grand National I’ll set myself the target of getting to the fence after Valentines and I’ll assess the situation at that point. You might find yourself further back than you wanted to be or you might be closer than you wanted to be, but then you take it from there. At the start it’s just important to go out there and get control of your own destiny.
It’s nice to be handy and with the blinkers on I hope that Soll will be quick enough. But I’ve ridden horses in the National that I don’t think will be quick enough to lay up and they lay up easily, and other horses that I thought would lay up easily I’ve found myself on near the back of the field. In his favour when he ran in the Grand National before on similar ground he held a position reasonably easily and he’s improved since then as well which gives me even more confidence. He’s been giving all the right signs and he’s won twice for us, but you’ll never really know what his chances are until you’re heading out on the second circuit.
I ride Pomme in the 5.40pm for Nigel Hawke. She’s unbeaten, let’s hope she remains that way! She’s run once, won once. It’s a big old field. It was a good performance winning at Wetherby and she’s up against the mares this time, whereas it was an open bumper she won. She’s a tough filly. She gives a nice feel at home. We hope she’s got the ability but there’s only one way of finding out.