Tom Scudamore has no doubts about Dynaste at Cheltenham
I have six rides at Cheltenham so will be kept busy and there will hopefully be a winner or two among them.
In the 1.15pm I ride Irish Cavalier for Rebecca Curtis. I rode him at Ascot where he ran well but I was then a bit disappointed last time when he was beaten at Taunton. He ran OK but I thought he’d be up to winning that day. His form at Ascot was good and the fact that he was slightly disappointing and yet only just beaten last time means he must have an each way chance. Stellar Notion looks the one to beat. He won impressively at Kempton last time. But Irish Cavalier is certainly no mug. His jumping was good round Ascot, not quite so good around Taunton but having said that he was really good up the straight under pressure there so, touch wood, he knows what he’s doing.
I’m on Dynaste in the big race at 1.50pm. Basically my two favourite horses are running in this race because I’m taking on The Giant Bolster. Dynaste’s second in the King George is the best piece of form in the race, and Cheltenham holds no fears for him as he’s won round the track. The one concern we might have is the ground but he’s handled soft ground before, and then there’s the trip on the ground but he’s been finishing his races so well this term. He really finished strongly in the King George and he finished off well in the Betfair Chase at Haydock as well. You know horses change and nowadays he’s finishing off his races much better. I’m going in to tomorrow’s race full of confidence. There are dangers all the way through the race. Smad Place, Many Clouds and The Giant Bolster will all be relishing the staying conditions so all being well they’ll give me something to aim at, and then the rest is up to me and Dynaste. They will all want a test of stamina, that’s for sure. It will be a really good and informative trial.
David said after the King George that he’d rather win the Ryanair than finish second in the Gold Cup and that’s the owners’ view and my view as well. First things first he will have to win tomorrow and secondly he has to win well. But we’ll get tomorrow’s race out of the way first and the rest will look after itself. I do get excited every time I have good horses to ride, thinking about the big races and going through the races beforehand, but the more experienced you get the more you just don’t let yourself get too wound up, you just try and stay calm. I know it sounds quite boring but it’s just another day in the office really. At the end of the day he’s just a horse like the rest of them, so you just make sure that you’re switched on and ready to do the job in hand.
In the 2.25pm I’m on Easter Meteor. He did run a bit better last time than he did first time out, and this isn’t as strong a race and he’ll handle the conditions. If he can improve as much from that second run to this race, as he did from his first to his second run then that gives me plenty of hope. We know the horse well, we know his ability, and it’s just a case of getting him to do it. He hasn’t been the most straightforward to train, and he hasn’t had much luck either. He’s fallen when going well last season and had his chances in big races without winning. He deserves a change of luck and maybe he’ll have his day in the sun tomorrow.
I’ve picked up a spare for Colin Tizzard in the 3.00pm called Native River. He’s been running well and I’m riding it because the owners have horses with David Pipe. I’ve ridden plenty of winners for them this season. He ran well in the Challow Hurdle and has won twice this season. It’s a trappy little race and it would be no surprise to see him win. He’s got a chance.
In the Cleeve Hurdle I’m looking forward to riding Un Temps Pour Tout. He was Timeform’s top rated English novice last year which tells you what level he showed. He beat Cole Harden on the bridle at Ascot. Cole Harden might have improved or might not have been on a going day but that form from that race has worked out very well. The horses behind him all came out and won. That day he was very, very good and his run at Punchestown under top weight was superb. He nearly got back up for second. He’d had the problem before Cheltenham which meant he missed the Festival so probably wasn’t at his very best at Punchestown either. He seems in really good form at home. I sat on him just the other day. He has to do the talking on Saturday but last year he looked one of the potential stars.
He hasn’t run until now as he didn’t have a break after coming over from France last season. He was on the go for a long time. It’s been a long break since Punchestown but he seems in great order. I’m just really looking forward to taking on the big boys with him as he’s one horse that looks like he has a lot of potential.
In the last I ride Dell Arca. He’s dropping back to two miles. He ran OK in the Lanzarote but hasn’t got anywhere near the form he was showing last year unfortunately, for whatever reason. Hopefully he can bounce back at some stage. He’s run four times this season and his only bit of good form was behind Coneygree at Newbury. Other than that he’s been very disappointing and hasn’t matched the heights he reached last year. Look if he bounces back he bounces back but I’m riding him with hope rather than expectation to be honest.