Tom Scudamore’s Cheltenham tips for Friday
Ex-jockey and Coral ambassador Tom Scudamore previews all seven races at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday and gives us his best bet for each.
There’s actually a lot more turned up in this than I thought would, as I thought it would be a field of six or seven, and it’s turned into a field of 15. There’s only one man that’s going to win it though and that’s Willie Mullins.
There was a lot of talk leading up to the race regarding which horse Paul Townend would ride, and he’s gone for the one I thought he’d ride in LOSSIEMOUTH. Not much went right for her last time at Leopardstown, but Paul is a top-class jockey and he’ll get it right this time, and I think she’ll take all the beating.
This is time for a blindfold and pin, but one I do respect in this is Sharjah. Although all his form is on the old course, he does have an excellent record here at Cheltenham, and I can see him coming there swinging approaching the last.
I am worried about the new course for him though, as I think it could catch him out, so the one I’m going to go with is PEMBROKE. I did beat him here last time on Rock My Way, but he flattened out a bit that day, and Harry and Dan know how to get one ready for a race like this, so I think he’s got a huge chance.
This looks a very competitive race once again, and all the talk leading up to this has been around Corbetts Cross and Three Card Brag, but I’m going to go against those and go for the oldest horse in the race in the shape of FAVORI DE CHAMPDOU.
Unlike the other novice hurdles where you need plenty of speed to win, this one’s all about stamina, and I like the way he won in heavy ground at Limerick last time, so he’s my idea of the winner.
This is a fantastic race and there’s plenty in this with chances. GALOPIN DES CHAMPS has blown me away this year, as if you’d asked me last year I’d have said this horse wants to step down in trip to the Champion Chase rather than up to the Gold Cup trip. This year he’s relaxed through his races much better, and although this trip round here will test his stamina even more, I think he’ll be up to the task.
Another one I do like is Stattler, who finished second to Galopin Des Champs last time. He did his best work after the last that day, so I do think this test will suit, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went very close.
From a personal point of view, I’d obviously love to see Ahoy Senor run well. He’s not a typical Gold Cup horse, but there’s plenty of ability there and I think he can certainly hit the frame.
A difficult race to have a strong opinion in, but I do like FAMOUS CLERMONT in this. He has the assistance of Will Biddick in the saddle which is a massive plus, and I thought the way he won at Haydock last time was very taking, so if he can get into a good jumping rhythm, then I’d expect him to go extremely close.
Allegorie De Vassey has been the talking horse in this race for a long time, but I’m going to take her on with IMPERVIOUS here. She’s unbeaten in her three starts over fences to date and she looks to have plenty more to come. The horse she beat last time Journey With Me has franked that form too, so I think she’s the one to side with for the Mares’ Chase.
A desperately difficult handicap to conclude the festival, but I do like the look of Harry Fry’s horse MIGHT I. It won’t be easy under top weight against some unexposed rivals, but he ran a stormer to finish second here behind Hacker Des Places, and I think going back up in trip will suit him, so I think he has an excellent each-way chance.