Tom Scudamore names Katkeau as his best chance of the weekend
Thistlecrack built on what he’d achieved at Ascot the time before. I said after Ascot that I wasn’t expecting him to win that well but at the same time it didn’t surprise me. The more I ride him the more excited I am. The World Hurdle is going to be a completely different test again but everything I’ve asked of him so far he’s delivered. He hasn’t been off the bridle yet.
It was all very straightforward. That was the way it looked and that was the way it felt. He may not be lazy like Big Bucks or Inglis Drever who ran behind the bridle, but he’s very relaxed. He’s not keen at all. Some people have said he’s a strong traveller well he’s not that strong a traveller. He doesn’t pull, he just cruises through the race. At the moment he just looks a man amongst boys.
I don’t feel any particular pressure riding the favourite for the World Hurdle. I suppose it comes from riding for the Pipes that you have to focus on what you’re about to do, so my focus is on the three rides I have tomorrow. Even in the days leading up to the Festival I’ll be focused on the rides I have on the Sunday before, and the Monday before. They deserve just as much focus and effort. It’s a lovely thought knowing I’m riding Thistlecrack in the World Hurdle and hoping he makes it there OK, but it’s the trainer who has to worry about his preparation and getting him there, I’ve got to concentrate on the rides I have each day between now and then.
The only pressure I’ll feel is the pressure I put on myself, because I want to perform, but that’s not the same pressure as when you’re just trying to get enough rides to make a living. That’s proper pressure.
It looked at one point that I’d be going to Sandown today but then at the last minute I was re-routed to Wetherby for Katkeau, and I’ve one for my brother, Kingswell Theatre and one for Warren Greatrex.
Katkeau is my best ride of the day in the 1.35pm. Yes, he’s dropping back in trip but he’s run well over 2m 3f around Autueil. It will be soft ground which will suit him, and David seems to have found a good opportunity to keep his unbeaten record over fences. I think he’s improved this season. He’s a horse who’s had his problems over the years and has been lightly raced. This season he’s been running in France and he seems a completely different horse. Whereas before he was quite keen in his races he’s much more settled now. He seems to have grown up. The combination of a hood and a switch to fences seems to have been the making of him. A 9lb rise for his win last time seems pretty fair. I don’t think that rise is insurmountable. We’ll find out today. I think he’ll run well.
Kingswell Theatre is my ride in the 2.45pm and he was beaten from the word go last time. It wasn’t the trip or the ground. His race from Chepstow has worked out well and he wasn’t in the same form last time. He deserves to be a big price based on his last run, but if you ignore that, he would be a lot shorter. That said it’s a good race so we’ll be pleased if he finished third or fourth.
I don’t know much about Stickee Fingers in the 1.00pm. He’s been placed in a couple of bumpers and he looks like he’ll improve for hurdles. It looks quite an open race.
I then travel up to Scotland to ride at Musselburgh on Sunday. I have four nice rides for David up there. I ride Impulsive American in the first at 1.00pm. He hasn’t got his head in front yet but we are hoping to change that. We are hoping for an improved performance from him. His owners are based in Scotland and have been very good supporters of Pond House. I’ve enjoyed success on a number of their horses, Broadway Buffalo is probably the best of them They are good people to ride for.
Then My Brother Sylvest in the 1.30pm and Unanimite in the 4.30pm have to bounce back to form as they’ve been a bit disappointing lately. I’m hoping for a big run from Mango Cap in the 3.00pm. I was disappointed to get beaten last time. His form in France has worked out well, so I’m hoping for an improved performance following his UK debut last time.
The ground is always good at Musselburgh. It’s near the sea and I always like riding there. I won the Scottish County Hurdle for Sean Tracey on Hunter View a few years ago. It’s a really good meeting. I’m looking forward to going up there.
Over the two days my best two chances are definitely Katkeau and Mango Cap.