Tom Scudamore: “Thistlecrack’s going to have to be at his best”
Coral ambassador previews his Boxing Day rides
Kempton 13:20 – Hold The Note
It’s obviously a very busy day, and as a result I’ve picked up rides for some trainers I wouldn’t be a regular rider for, and Boxing Day starts with my first-ever ride for Mick Channon.
Hold The Note was a winner over hurdles, and should improve for his chasing debut last month, and Mick and owner Tim Radford won this race last year with Glen Forsa, so hopefully he can get in the mix here.
Kempton 13.55 – The Mighty Don
I’ve got a 100% record on The Mighty Don, having won a novice hurdle at Fakenham by ten lengths on him!
He is the outsider in this Grade One, which is fair enough on what he’s shown over fences so far, but he was more than useful over hurdles, with his standout run a fourth behind Paisley Park in the Long Walk, and hopefully he can give his sporting owners a good day out here.
Kempton 15:05 – Thistlecrack
Thistlecrack gave me one of the best days of my career when winning the King George three years ago, and it’s great he’s back here to have another crack this year. Plenty has been said about what a strong race this is, something that’s clear when you see that Aso, runner-up in the Ryanair Chase, is a 50/1 outsider here.
Although there are only six horses in the line-up, I respect each runner, but I was delighted with how Thistlecrack ran last time, I’ve been down to school him and he felt great. He’s going to have to be at his best to win this obviously, but there’s no reason why he can’t be.
Although Cyrname likes to front run, it’s not a given he will here, as Aso is another who likes to get on with it. Everyone thinks Kempton is a speed track – which it is – but you also need to stay every yard.
When I started riding, Mick Fitzgerald used to say how he loved Kempton as a place to ride Nicky Henderson’s Cheltenham horses, as you need speed, but you also need to stay. At the time I didn’t understand what he meant, but the more I rode the track, the more I saw what he meant.
Yes, you do get two-milers winning the King George, but not often, and true greats like Desert Orchid and Kauto Star may have been better around here than Cheltenham, but they still had the stamina to win the Gold Cup.
There’s no hiding place in the King George, as Graham Bradley put it, the first circuit they go quick, the second circuit they go quicker, and turning into the home straight, you have to stay every yard to the line, and that’s when we’ll find out if Cyrname stays three miles or not.
If I wasn’t riding my fellow, I’d want to be on Lostintranslation. For all the reasons, I’ve mentioned, we know he stays three miles as he proved it at Haydock, and he has the pace to mix it with Defi Du Seuil last season, who’s won the Tingle Creek over two miles. Whatever happens, it’s a great race to be involved in, and I can’t wait!
Kempton 15:40 – Honest Vic
My final ride is Honest Vic for Henry Daly. I’ve not ridden him before, but he’s in good form, winning at Market Rasen two runs ago, and was a good fourth at Haydock last time, and Henry’s horses are running well, so he’s another nice spare to have picked up on this big day.