Tom Scudamore’s Cheltenham tips for Thursday
Ex-jockey and Coral ambassador Tom Scudamore previews all seven races at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday and gives us his best bet for each.
Mighty Potter has done nothing wrong over fences this season. He has had an excellent campaign in Ireland. However, he came over here 12 months ago, and the occasion got to him a little. I am a big believer in horses for courses, so until he proves himself here, I am going to be a doubting Thomas.
The horse with the best Cheltenham form is BANBRIDGE. How can you fancy a horse who finished as far as he did behind Mighty Potter earlier in the season you may ask?! However, he won the Martin Pipe at the Festival last year, and winners of that race often go on to win at the Festival again.
I love David Pipe’s runner in this race, THANKSFORTHEHELP. He won easily at Chepstow last time on his first start since having a wind op. He has gone up 11lb in the ratings for that victory, which has helped him get into this race. He has an outstanding chance.
This is SHISHKIN’s race to lose. If we had sat here 12 months ago, we would have said he was a certainty for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and we know what happened. Since then, there has been a lot of water under the bridge. There was the blowout in the Tingle Creek, but then he was imperious in the Ascot Chase. Let’s hope it is the best Shishkin that turns up.
This is the most competitive of the Championship races this week. You have Flooring Porter who is going for his third consecutive success in this contest. I think this is a stronger race than he has been faced with over the last couple of years.
In Teahupoo, Blazing Khal and GOLD TWEET, he is now taking on horses of a different calibre. Teahupoo was quick enough to run in the Champion Hurdle last year. He was impressive over this distance at Gowran Park last time. His form took a boost earlier this week with Honeysuckle’s victory. However, I really like how Gold Tweet won last time and he is the horse I think will prevail.
This looks like a fantastic race and although it’s not original, I like how SO SCOTTISH has been campaigned this season. He is only six years old, but he looks like he has plenty of improvement in him.
Luccia deserves a lot of respect. People have been questioning her jumping. We are now on the New Course, and this does not have quite the same test as the Old Course. There is a long run from the third last to the finish line. Having said that, I think she is too short in price.
PRINCESS ZOE has some excellent form on the Flat. She has only had one race over hurdles, but I think these conditions and the large field will bring out the best of her. She needs to brush up on her jumping, but as I mentioned, that is not as crucial as it would be on the Old Course.
I have to go with the favourite here, STUMPDOWN. He was excellent at Sandown over 3m last month. Between Stumpdown and Beauport, you won’t be going very far wrong in this race.