Tom Scudamore: “Poker Play has an outstanding chance on his Ffos Las form”
Coral ambassador previews his New Year’s Day rides
Cheltenham 12.50 – Kingswell Theatre
My first ride of 2020 is Kingswell Theatre for brother Michael. He wouldn’t be without an each-way chance, although he’s probably not quite as good over the regulation fences as he is around the Cross-country course here.
We know how good Cogry is here, Singlefarmpayment will run his usual solid race I’m sure, and in what is a typically competitive Cheltenham handicap, my fellow is probably handicapped out of winning it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he got into the money.
Cheltenham 14.00 – Poker Play
We had a couple of options for Poker Play here, and have gone for the handicap, where he gets in off a lovely mark.
His Ffos Las win has worked out really well, this stiff 2 ½ mile trip should suit, and also the softer the going the better for him.
As you’d expect for the money, it’s a really strong field, but my horse would have a good chance anyway, and on his Ffos Las form he’d have an outstanding chance.
Cheltenham 14.35 – Taj Badalandabad
Taj Badalandand did disappoint at Sandown last time, but it’s not the first time he’s disappointed around there, I don’t know why, sometimes horses just don’t seem to like a particular track.
He’s a horse with an awful lot of ability, but for all the ability he has, he’s also had a lot of problems. It wasn’t that long ago that he finished fourth in a Pertemps Final at the Festival, behind Delta Work, clearly that is excellent form but there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then.
He has bounced back from a disappointing run before, but he is going to have to do so again here.
Cheltenham 15.50 – Quick Draw
Quick Draw was second at Aintree on his debut for Tom Lacey, who’s a trainer who does well with these type of horses.
Anthony Honeyball’s Belle De Manech looks the one to beat, but my horse would only need a slight amount of improvement from his first run to be involved here, and he looks a lovely ride to finish the day on.