Scudamore predicts no tears from AP and a big run from The Package
It’s been a really enjoyable season. I’ve had a good year. To ride as many winners as I have, reaching the 150 last night, and to have a couple of Cheltenham Festival winners, is just great. But then what’s also in the back of my mind is that I now need to improve on this next year. Come Monday I’ll probably have that rather empty feeling that I’ve got to start all over again.
When I think about next season, it’s simple. I want to be Champion. There’s no two ways about it. I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to go and do it. It will be very interesting to see how it pans out. The long and short of it is that whoever rides more winners than Richard Johnson next season will probably be Champion jockey because that’s the way it’s been for the last fifteen years. But all I’ve got to do is concentrate on myself. What all the others are doing is irrelevant. I’ve got to ride as many winners as I can and that will put me in the mix.
It’s just a case of me working as hard as I can, maintaining the work ethic I’ve set myself. You can’t get on horses that people don’t want you to ride. I will be trying to get on every horse I can, and more’s to the point it’s about getting on as many horses with a chance. If I can get 100 more rides next season it will be great but it’s not just about more rides it’s about finding twenty more winners. It’s the winners that count ultimately not the rides.
In terms of today at Sandown, from a personal point of view you just have to concentrate on the job in hand. Everything else that’s going on around you is beyond your control. It is going to be like Gold Cup Day or Grand National Day with the amount of people at Sandown, and the media focus. All kinds of things will be going on around you, but all you’ve got to do is work around it. The first thing is to get to the track early because of the huge amount of people going. You’ve just got to remember that you are still there to do a job.
I get an adrenalin rush out of every day and any winner but the bigger the crowd the bigger the rush. And tomorrow will be a really special day. It will be a fantastic atmosphere. It will be great for racing and I just hope AP gets the send-off he deserves and I’m sure he will.
I imagine AP will be really quiet in the weighing room. He might in a way be quite embarrassed by it all. I think he will be going through it, and bits of him will feel upset, but I think he’ll hold it together. The more I’ve dealt with him this season, the more I’ve felt that he is ready for retirement. He probably doesn’t want to retire, and he’d like to continue forever, but in his mind I think he’s ready to retire. In some ways he may even be looking forward to it. I think he will go out today with the mind-set that he will enjoy it. It will probably sink in properly afterwards but I don’t think you’ll get any tears from him as he’s just not that type of person.
From a personal point of view he’s always been extremely kind to me. Yes he’s always been extraordinarily competitive, you wouldn’t expect anything less, but he’s been a very good role model and somebody that I’ve always looked up to.
In the 2.00pm I ride Unanimite. I was disappointed with him last time at Ascot. In the Fred Winter he ran OK and I was a bit disappointed with his finishing position. It probably wasn’t my finest hour. I could never get a position on him and I was disappointed with myself but then he ran so poorly at Ascot I realised there might have been a reason why I couldn’t get a position on him at Cheltenham. He’s a horse we’ve always thought a bit of, and hopefully tomorrow he can get back on track, but his last two runs were disappointing.
I don’t have a ride in The Celebration Chase at 3.15pm. The one I wouldn’t rule out is Special Tiara. That would be the horse I’d like to be on. If Sprinter Sacre came back to the form of his third to Dodging Bullets he’d have a squeak but really he’s looked a shadow of his former self. It would be great to see him tomorrow and it would be great if he could bounce back but I don’t think he will.
I think my horse The Package will have a really good chance in the Bet365 Gold Cup at 3.50pm. It was a good performance by him at Cheltenham. He’s gone up a bit in the weights since then. It’s a really cracking renewal of the race. It’s back to how it used to be. In fact it’s one of the best running’s of the race for quite some time. I’m really looking forward to it and I think I’ve got a great chance. It’s the only major chase a Scudamore hasn’t won so it’s always been a race I’ve wanted to win, almost more than any other. The Package is versatile in terms of ground. The 3 miles and 5 furlongs will be fine for him. And you saw the difference blinkers made to him last time. In what is a really strong race I think he’s got a very good chance.
I ride Kylemore Lough in the 4.25pm. He was pulled up at Cheltenham but had some good form before that. He looks like he’s good plenty of weight though and it’s a fiercely competitive race. Whatever he does over hurdles he’s going to make an even nicer novice chaser next season.
In the 5.00pm I’m on board Phone Home. He was good at Newbury last time and takes a step up in class. I was pleased with him at Newbury and if he’s in the same frame of mind I think he could run well. Sandown should suit him. For a horse that’s been on the go a long time, he’s taken his racing well. I think he was my first winner of the season last year at Ffos Las and he’s ended up running here on in a nice chase. It would be a nice way to bookend the season if he could be my last winner of the season, having been my first.
In the last race of the season, the 5.35pm, I ride Twentytwo’s Taken. She has a lot to find and will do well if she can get in the first three. And that will then be that.