Tom Scudamore: “I’m really looking forward to this one”
Coral ambassador previews his Saturday rides at Cheltenham
Cheltenham 12.30 – Adagio
Adagio won well at Warwick first time up for us, and he deserves to take this step up in class. He was rated 87 on the flat in France, and we like him a lot so it wasn’t a shock that he won like he did at Warwick.
I think he’ll cope with this step up in grade, albeit I have the utmost respect for his rivals here, particularly Duffle Coat and Hell Red for powerful yards.
Cheltenham 14.15 – Siruh Du Lac
I’m really looking forward to this one. Siruh Du Lac is having his first run for the yard, having switched from Nick Williams, and off a mark of 150 there will be no hiding place here. If he can win off that mark, we’re looking at a proper graded horse.
We know he’s good, he’s a previous Festival winner, and was running another big race when he came down two out at last season’s Festival. Any more rain won’t hinder him, he’s shown us at home that he’s in good form, and I think he’s got a great chance.
As you’d expect it’s a really competitive race, Simply The Betts has been there and done it at the Festival, Mister Fisher would have a major chance, and I respect Saint Sonnet although he’s got to improve on what we’ve seen from him so far. If any more rain fell that would bring others into the mix, including the likes of Aso, who is running off his last winning mark.
Cheltenham 14.50 – Poker Play
The yard runs two here, Dell’Arca, and my mount Poker Play. My fellow goes well fresh, and having won on soft ground at Ffos Las a year ago, the more rain the better for him. He hasn’t quite progressed from that run yet, but a repeat of that performance would see him go close.
Dell’Arca has been in good form this autumn, winning a couple under Fergus Gillard, but of course those wins have not been missed by the handicapper. That said, he has won off a considerably higher mark than his current 131 in the past, although we have to accept he’s an 11-year-old now who won’t be improving. However, he runs on all ground conditions, and in a wide open race he has a chance.
Cheltenham 15.25 – Kepagge
The handicapper may have taken a shot in the dark in giving Kepagge a mark of 137 – which means top weight here – as it was only a three-runner race when he won at Doncaster last season.
In fairness though, his bumper form has worked out OK, and he did win his two hurdles races nicely, although as he was entitled to. He’s a horse I like a lot, and if he’s as good as we think he is, he will have to negotiate 137 here.