Scu hoping for Festival first with Next Sensation
When it comes to families who have enjoyed success at the Cheltenham Festival, the Scudamore’s are top of the list.
Michael Scudamore senior rode eight Cheltenham Festival winners between 1956 and 1964, with his biggest success coming in the 1957 Gold Cup on the Charlie Mallon-trained Linwell.
His son Peter was champion jockey eight times and notched 13 wins at National Hunt racing’s showpiece Festival.
They included Champion Hurdle victories on Celtic Shot (1988) and Granville Again (1993), as well as a Queen Mother Champion Chase on Pearlyman (1987).
Not surprisingly, Peter’s two sons Michael and Tom are themselves doing well in their careers as trainer and jockey.
Tom is on fire at the Festival this week, having won three races going into the final day courtesy of Western Warhorse (Arkle), Dynaste (Ryanair) and Ballynagour (Byrne Group Plate).
Michael, however, is still searching for his first Festival success.
He may not have to wait long though as his progressive chaser Next Sensation is favourite to win the final race of the meeting, the Grand Annual Chase
The seven-year-old has won three of his last four starts, showing improved form on each occasion to keep defying the handicapper.
He put up a career-best performance last time out at Doncaster when making all and winning unchallenged by six lengths from God’s Own and the runner-up gave the form a solid look by chasing home the now 153-rated Balder Succes in the Grade 2 Pendil Chase at Kempton.
That form suggests that Next Sensation could well be up to defying another 9lb rise in the weights, and Scudamore has booked Richard Johsnon to ride the bold front runner.
A win for the horse would be a major boost for Michael, who has just 29 horses in training at his yard in Eccleswall Court, Hereford.
His biggest success so far has come courtesy of Monbeg Dude in the 2012 Welsh National and that horse has also won two valuable handicaps at Cheltenham, ensuring he has a live chance in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.
The Mike Blandford-owned Next Sensation has a long way to go to reach the achievements of his stablemate, but he has huge potential and an outstanding chance today of providing Scu with his first success at the four-day showpiece.