Tom Scudamore thinks it’s good for Thistlecrack to have a different test at Cheltenham


Tom Scudamore blog on The Open meeting at Cheltenham

Coral horse racing ambassador Tom Scudamore spoke exclusively about his weekend rides at The Open meeting at Cheltenham, including the return of 2016 World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack to Prestbury Park over fences and Ballynagour in the BetVictor Gold Cup…

The ground was good to soft on Friday and if they get a little rain overnight it wouldn’t go amiss just to keep it genuine. A bit of rain might just make it a bit more taxing and ride quite dead on Saturday. Considering the weather we’ve had so far this season the ground is in fantastic condition.

“It’s good for Thistlecrack to have a different test at Cheltenham”

I’m really looking forward to riding Thistlecrack again in the 1.15 at Cheltenham. I’ve seen him at home but haven’t sat on him since Chepstow. I’d like to think it will be a case of more of the same on him. He sets a very high standard and seems to have scared most of the opposition away. You have to go into the race with the same mentality, get your things right, and the horse will do the rest. I won’t be having a sleepless night or worrying about anything, as I’m not that kind of person, but at the same time I won’t be taking my eye off the ball. It’s just another horse race, and it’s the same pressure as riding any favourite.

It’s good for the horse to have a different test at Cheltenham. He’s run well over hurdles here and has coped with the undulations. He’s a very versatile horse and I don’t see any problems with the track. He’s done everything right and he’s got to go and do it again on the track. I’m really excited to be riding him. It’s always different to be the trainer as you’re worrying about getting him to the race. For a jockey you don’t get involved in that pressure as you’re riding every day, and have other work to do.

In the long distance handicap I ride Doctor Harper in the 1.55. He’s a bit hit and miss, and that’s just his jumping. In small fields he seems to have coped and this time last year I was very excited about him. He does seem to have his own way of jumping. If he jumps well then he has a great chance and I’ll know early on how he’s going. He’s a very good horse but hurdles got in the way of him, and when he ran in the big field chases, the fences seemed to as well. I schooled him during the week and he jumped fantastically. He’s got to go and prove it now. He’s a horse we’ve always thought a lot of and he’s a horse that’s still in the could be anything bracket.

“Ballynagour is carrying top weight because he’s the best horse in the race on ratings”

I ride Ballynagour in the Betvictor Gold Cup at 2.25 off top weight. He’s in great form and you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s carrying top weight because he’s the best horse in the race on ratings but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one of two horses in the field who are better than their handicap marks. That said he’s working well at home and is capable of running a good race.

I ride Very Extravagant in the 3.00. She’s been in great form winning her last three starts but this is her toughest assignment to date so we’ll see how she goes. I then ride Red Infantry in the last for Ian Williams. I’ve ridden a few winners for Ian and this one looks like it has a good each way chance.

On Sunday I just have the one ride but it’s a good one, Moon Racer in the first. We are taking on Ballyandy again. I thought he might have run in the two and a half mile novice on Saturday but they’ve decided to come for this race too. We have a great race up at Perth but this will be a different test round Cheltenham. Both horses have run well here, winning the Champion Bumper, so I’m looking forward to it. Moon Racer has to give Ballyandy 4lbs this time but I have great confidence in my horse and think he should run very well. He came out of his last race well and has been working well at home. Even at the weights, I certainly wouldn’t swap riding Moon Race for anything else.



The Scudamore says archive has all of Tom’s previous and other rides and thoughts on National Hunt horse racing.

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