Tom Scudamore: “On his best form he’ll have a massive chance”
Coral ambassador previews his weekend rides
The ground at Doncaster always dries out well but the forecast is pretty unsettled so it will be interesting to see what the going is come race-time.
13.50 Doncaster – Remastered
He was a disappointment last time. We thought he’d run a big race at Sandown, following his decent second at Chepstow the time before to Potters Cross. He isn’t the most consistent of horses but on his best form he’ll have a massive chance. It’s just a question of which Remastered turns up.
15.00 Doncaster – Aurora Thunder
She has a little bit to find on ratings but she has been running well. If a couple of her opponents were to under-perform she’d be there or thereabouts, and she might be overpriced.
15.35 Doncaster – Cesar Et Rosalie
He has some decent bits and pieces of form. He last won when he landed a competitive race around Uttoxeter at the beginning of the summer. That was a good run but his form since then has tailed off a little bit so he needs to bounce back. Hopefully the better ground at Doncaster will help him do that.
16.10 Doncaster – Kepagge
He’s unbeaten so far and is a very nice horse. I think he will still be unbeaten come Saturday night.
16.45 Doncaster – Hereia
He ran well in Ireland and also ran well on his first run for Neil. His form has slipped since then but hopefully the better ground will see him in a better light.
Other horses to note:
I had riding options at Newbury as well as Doncaster, but head to Doncaster to ride Kepagge.
Moonlighter in the novice chase at Newbury is a horse I rode last time and I think he’ll have a good chance against Master Tommytucker.
Dell’ Arca ran a lot better last time out and he runs in the Veterans’ Chase, and would have a squeak in that.
I was a little disappointed with Nordic Combined around Ludlow last time but the return to a more galloping track will suit him. Main Fact has been a revelation but the handicapper has caught up with him. If the heavens open and the ground deteriorated significantly then that would really help Main Fact’s chance.
15.55 Huntingdon – Elan De Balme
He ran well for a long way at Wincanton last time and we are dropping him back in trip. I think this is a very winnable race.
This is a race I always want to win as it is named after John Bigg, the man that owned Oxo, my Grandad’s Grand National winner. The trophy is the actual Grand National trophy that he won. So it is a race that means a lot to me. I’ve won the race once before and would like to win it again.
17.30 Huntingdon – Martinhal
I’ve been really pleased with him since he came to us. I’ve sat on him a couple of times. We’ll find out more on Sunday but he feels like a really nice horse.
Leighton Aspell‘s retirement
He’s had a fabulous career. His retirement came as a bit of shock though. We were all sat in the weighing room last Saturday at Kempton and Robbie Dunne was messing around saying to Leighton that he had another two or three years in him, and Leighton just turned around and said, “No I won’t, I’m retiring tomorrow”.
Everyone thought he was mucking around, but he was deadly serious and said “No, I am definitely retiring tomorrow”.
Even then I turned around to him and said, “I’ve heard that before”, as Leighton had retired before a few years ago before returning to riding. But when we were down at the start for the next race, he repeated it again and I realised then that he was deadly serious and he was calling time on his great career.
He’s been riding as well as he’s ever ridden, and I suppose that’s a nice way to go out, on your own terms and when things are going well.
Whatever he decides to do next, he’s the kind of person that will be a success at it. So whatever jobs he looks to apply for within racing, people would be wise not to turn him down because he’ll be a serious asset wherever he goes.
Richard Johnson’s return
He has done really well to get back so quickly. His break was the smaller bone on the side of the arm so whilst people were all writing him off I knew that he would be able to get back quite fast. In fact, he felt like he could have ridden just two weeks after the operation but the metalwork in the arm is what stops you.
Whilst he’s been off the Gods have smiled on him as the weather has hindered Brian Hughes from riding more winners, and the gap between them is not insurmountable.
At this stage I think Dickie Johnson will catch Brian and retain his title. I felt that if the lead was within 20 when he came back he would be able to do it.
There’s a lot of racing left this season.