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Racing: Scudamore bids to emulate father

TOM Scudamore is hoping to emulate his father by winning today’s Paddy Power Gold Cup on David Pipe’s Grands Crus as the pair clash with fairytale horse Hunt Ball.

Scudamore’s father, Peter, won the 1988 version on Pegwell Bay and Grands Crus is looking to bounce back from a below-par run in the RSA Chase in May.

If his work on the gallops is anything to go by that should not be a problem, according to Scudamore, who said: “I’m looking forward to it. I had a sit on him last week. He’s in good order. It’s going to be a tough, competitive race, but I wouldn’t swap him for anything.

“From an early stage he wasn’t his normal self in the RSA, but he wouldn’t be the first horse to bounce back from that race. I’ve got maximum belief in him and hopefully he’ll show it.”

No horse has risen through the ranks in recent years quite like Hunt Ball, whose career is becoming the stuff of legend after his 88lb improvement. Trainer Keiran Burke and ebullient owner Anthony Knott are hoping the dream can continue.

“I’m a bit nervous, but I’ve done all my work now and it’s down to the horse and jockey on the day,” said Burke. “Hunt Ball is a very laid-back horse and you have to make him work.

“We won’t know if last season has left its mark until he runs on Saturday. I don’t think it has – he feels brilliant.”

The JP McManus-owned Quantitativeeasing finished second last year and takes his chance again for trainer Nicky Henderson. He won the Spinal Research Atlantic 4 Gold Cup at Prestbury Park the following month and while two subsequent unplaced efforts saw him drop a little in the ratings, he is still competing off a 9lb higher mark.

“He ran a blinder in the race last year and he seems to run well fresh,” said Frank Berry, McManus’ racing manager. “Nicky is very happy with him and we’re hoping for a good run again.”

The McManus-Henderson team have a second string to their bow in Nadiya De La Vega, who was a winner at this track last month. “She won well there the last day but this probably looks a bit better race,” Berry said.

Al Ferof paid the penalty for trying to force the pace against Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle in March but trainer Paul Nicholls retains the faith.

“He goes well fresh, he jumped well for Ruby (Walsh) in the week,” said the Ditcheat handler.

“While it’s a tough task at the weights, if he’s going to be a genuine Grade One winner of the future he has to be going close off that mark – and the same applies to Grands Crus.”

Meanwhile, East Lothian-born Michael Ennis had a day to remember at Cheltenham yesterday when he drove 14/1 chance Swing Bill to victory in the concluding Bates Hats Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase to record his first winner at the home of steeplechasing.

“I was born just along the road from Musselburgh at Longniddry and it’s a great thrill to ride my first winner at Cheltenham,” he said.

SELECTIONS

Cheltenham

12.45 Vasco Du Ronceray

1.20 Sea Of Thunder

1.55 Viking Blond

2.35 Aerial

3.05 El Dancer

3.40 Buy Back Bob

Lingfield

12.00 Sail Home

12.30 Manomine

1.05 Kashmiri Star

1.40 Miakora

2.15 Farraaj

2.50 Hezmah

3.20 Stasio

3.55 Storm King

Uttoxeter

12.20 Lord Of House

12.55 High Kite

1.30 Black Is Beautiful

2.05 Rich Buddy

2.40 Lean Burn

3.10 Noble Legend

3.45 Up And Go

Wetherby

12.10 Fintan

12.40 Bollin Dolly

1.10 Twice Lucky

1.45 Solis

2.25 Mr Moss

2.55 Deise Dynamo

3.25 Meetings Man

Wolverhampton

5.50 Avon Breeze

6.20 Green Mitas

6.50 Desert Sunrise

7.20 Bouyrin

7.50 Woza Moya

8.20 Bin Singspiel

8.50 Aragorn Rouge

9.20 Queen Of Skies

Double

Farraaj

2:15 Lingfield

Up And Go

3:45 Uttoxeter

TOMORROW

Cheltenham

1.10 His Excellency

1.45 Hada Men

2.20 Sprinter Sacre

2.50 Darlan

3.25 Fox Run

4.00 Hannibal The Great

Fontwell

12.25 Oscargo

12.55 Meet Me At Dawn

1.30 Dolatulo

2.05 Incentivise

2.40 Overlay

3.10 Storm Alert

3.40 Don Pooleoni

Double

Hannibal The Great

4:00 Cheltenham

Meet Me At Dawn

12:55 Fontwell

 

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