Tom Scudamore with his views on his weekend rides
Scudamore sweet on chances of National hope Vieux Lion Rouge
It was good to see Moon Racer’s form take a decent boost in last Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle. You’d have to respect his chance whatever race he goes for at Cheltenham. Nothing’s been ruled out or ruled in with him. I haven’t been down to Pond House this week but I know the owners went down to see him and everyone seems happy with him.
The Grand National weights were unveiled this week and there were no surprises in terms of our leading contender, Vieux Lion Rouge, who runs at Haydock. Obviously I’m hoping that we will still be talking about him as a contender after this weekend.
I rode a nice winner at Fakenham yesterday, The Mighty Don, for Nick Gifford. He showed a great attitude, although he needs to improve his jumping. But the best part of the day came when Guy Disney won the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown. We grew up together and he’s one of my closest friends and I’m so proud and pleased for him for what he achieved yesterday.
I have a few rides at Haydock but I’ll try and watch Cue Card at Ascot. If I don’t manage to catch it I’ll watch it when I get home. It looks like a golden opportunity for him. It doesn’t look the strongest Grade 1 and on all known form he should win this.
I ride Most Celebrated in the first at Haydock at 1.30. He was very good at Wetherby and he deserves this step up in class. Don Bersy sets a good standard too but I was seriously impressed with Most Celebrated on his debut and he must have a very good chance. He holds Cheltenham engagements and he’s a horse I like a lot.
I then ride Anteros in the 2.05. He would have a fair bit to find on ratings. He won at Cheltenham during the winter off 125 but has about 20lbs to find with the likes of Aux Ptit Soins and Zarkandar here. Hopefully he might be capable of pulling off a surprise but in reality he has it all to do.
In the 2.40 I ride Big River. He’s a horse I won on a couple of starts back. I was very impressed with him. I don’t know what he beat but he did it well. Things didn’t work out for him last time at Musselburgh but he’s better than that. I think he has a very good chance.
Big ride of the day
My big ride of the day is Vieux Lion Rouge in the Grand National trial at 3.15. He hasn’t been hit too hard by the handicapper for winning the Becher and the form has worked out very well. I think he has an outstanding chance and he has won around the course too. The ground will hold no fears and I’m really looking forward to riding him. At the moment he looks like my Grand National mount and I’m hoping that he’ll be a shorter price for that race come Saturday evening. He still has some questions to answer in terms of stamina. He didn’t quite see out the trip in last year’s Grand National, or the four miler at Cheltenham. But I think he’s a different horse now compared to last year. I remember riding him over three miles last year at Ascot and he didn’t finish the race well. But in the Becher Chase he’s really stayed on from the elbow and on that performance he looks an ideal National candidate. He seems a stronger horse now and he’s finishing his races off better, so I’m really sweet on his chances.
On Sunday I head to Ffos Las. I’m on Grace Tara for my brother in the 3.20. I was a bit disappointed with her last time. She drops back to two miles here which should be fine for her as she’s very versatile. It doesn’t look the strongest race and she has a squeak. She is what she is and holds no secrets from the handicapper but on the plus side she will handle the conditions and the race has cut up.
I then ride Steel Native for Dai Rees in the 4.50. He’s got to really step up on all known form on. He will need to improve a lot to figure here.