Tom Scudamore: “This is the perfect place to start again with Cloth Cap”
Coral ambassador looks ahead to his rides at Cheltenham on Saturday
Cheltenham 2.20 – Cloth Cap
Although the jumps season continues all through the summer, it does feel as if this first meeting of the autumn at Cheltenham races marks the changing of the seasons from flat to jumps.
At home the big hopes for the coming months are beginning to appear, while the more familiar names are returning to action on the track as well.
It’s been a decent summer for me, so I’m feeling in good form as things step up, but obviously it’s what we achieve from now and going forward that we’ll all be judged on.
Talking of big hopes, my first ride of the day certainly fits that bill, but before I talk about Cloth Cap, I have to mention his owner, the now sadly late Trevor Hemmings.
Much has been said and written about Mr Hemmings since his passing, confirming the high regard in which he was held by so many people, not just in racing, but across the world of business and sport in general.
He was clearly a huge supporter of National Hunt racing, and deserved all the success he got, and while I didn’t know him well, I obviously got to know him better because of my association with Cloth Cap, particularly ahead of last year’s Grand National.
I originally picked up the ride as a spare, but we just clicked and Trevor stuck with me, for which I will always be grateful.
He will be sorely missed, and I hope that Cloth Cap, along with his other runners, can pay their tribute to him in the weeks and months to come.
As for the horse, it didn’t work out for him at Aintree races, where a problem with his wind came to light for the first time.
That was just one of those things, he’d never had an issue before, and now he’s had surgery, hopefully the problem has been rectified.
It will be harder for him this season, as he’s deservedly considerably higher in the handicap than he was a year ago, but this was his starting point twelve months ago [finished third] and is a good place to kick things off again.
I’m sure his programme won’t be too dissimilar too last year’s, so the Ladbrokes Trophy could be on the cards again, and in terms of the National, I certainly have plenty of faith in him still, and it would be great to think we could go back there next April with a live chance, that would certainly be some legacy for Mr Hemmings, who of course loved the race so much.
Cheltenham 4.05 – Panic Attack
Panic Attack had a mixed time last year, at her best, when winning at Newbury, she was very good, but she could also be a bit in and out.
She finished second at Aintree back in May, and looked right up to her best that day, she stuck on well and looked as if this three mile trip would really suit her.
She seems in good form at home, and while this is to all extents her first run of the season, she wouldn’t be without an each-way chance here.
Cheltenham 5.15 – Askinvillar
My final ride is on Askinvillar in the Bumper.
He’s not run since winning his point-to-point in Ireland almost two years ago, but he’s by a fine sire in Jeremy, and connections clearly think a bit of him by starting him off here.
That said, this does look a warm race, and he’s sure to improve plenty for the run.