Tom Scudamore talks his weekend Cheltenham and Aintree rides


It’s wonderful to be back riding at Cheltenham. They’ve made amazing improvements around here but in their own quiet way. The course and the track look fantastic. It’s funny when people say that now the jump season starts properly, when I’ve been so busy all summer, but it does feel like it’s stepping up a gear when you come here for the first meeting.

I’m feeling fit and well, and David has had a couple of winners this week, so everything is cranking up nicely.

Tom’s Saturday Cheltenham rides

I ride Alternatif in the 1.50. He’s a bit of an in and out performer. I schooled him the other day and he seems in good form. He’s going to have to pull his finger out but when he’s good he’s very good. Unfortunately he does throw in the odd disappointing run. He has run quite well around Cheltenham before. His stamina didn’t quite last over three and a half miles around here but he did run well for a long way. On a going day he would have a chance. I will take my time on him, get a lead, get him jumping and play my cards late.

I’m on Casino Markets for Emma Lavelle in the 3.30. He’s had a good summer. Yes, he’s stepping up in class but Emma is in such good form that anything is possible. I rode one for her a few weeks ago, Crimson Ark, which stepped up in class and needed to improve, and it ran well. There’s no reason why Casino Markets can’t run well. He’s an improving horse and Emma’s made such a good start from her new yard that I’m sure there’s more to come from him. He’s normally a prominent runner so will likely keep it nice and simple.

In the 4.05 I ride Eshtiaal for Gordon Elliott. He must have a good chance. He’s won his last two and comes here on a roll. I’ll chat to Gordon in the morning and go through the race with him. He looks a straightforward horse and has a bit of class, and he looks my best ride of the day. Gordon is very straightforward to ride for. He knows how he likes his horses to be ridden and you always know where you stand on that score. He knows his horses inside-out and while he doesn’t really tie you down you know exactly what’s expected of you when you ride for him.

Solstice Star is a really nice ride to pick up in the 4.40. He had some nice hurdle form and did nothing but improve last year. He’s handled the track before too. This is his first time over fences and we have a little bit to find with the likes of Shantou Village, but there’s no reason why he can’t given the way he improved beyond all recognition last season. He was second in the Imperial Cup and here in April.

Then in the last I ride Tikanite for Shayn Lycett. I suspect Shaun must like this horse as though his is quite a small operation, it’s a shrewd operation and he wouldn’t just be coming here for the day out. You do get some trainers just wanting runners at Cheltenham but Shaun would be just as happy having a winner at Plumpton.

Tom’s Sunday Aintree ride

On Sunday I ride What A Moment at Aintree in the 4.25. He’d have a good chance. He’s had one run this season and finished second, and ran really well. He’s schooled well over fences so far and chasing was always going to be his future. The way he’s schooled suggests he’s going to improve over a fence but he has to go and prove it. I think he will.

I went down to David Pipe’s during the week and schooled loads of horses, I was there for hours. It was a brilliant morning, so exciting to see all the young horses coming through. We’d had a bit of rain so were able to crack on with them all. There is plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Thistlecrack will run on Tuesday at Chepstow provided the ground is safe. I schooled him last week and he was as good as ever. You don’t want to get too carried away and take it one step at a time but he seems really well. I’m looking forward to it.


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