Tom Scudamore: Hard days ahead but 2013 got off to perfect start at Exeter
I had the perfect start to 2013 with a win on Buddy Bolero in the beginners' chase at Exeter. He jumped really well, but he's done a lot of schooling from the start and he's always been very good.
I'm not sure whether I will be at Chepstow on Saturday or Wincanton and there's a chance I could be at both. David Pipe has horses entered at both meetings, but I will be at Chepstow for the Coral Welsh National whatever, where I may be on Master Overseer.
It's a wide-open race and looks very competitive. The Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree must have a good chance. He ran very well in the Hennessy to finish ninth to Bob's Worth and the form of that race is working out well.
Alfie Spinner is another who has a great chance and I read in Exeter's racecard on Tuesday that his trainer Nick Williams fancies his chances too. I won a beginners' chase on him at Chepstow a year ago so he goes well on the track.
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My brother Michael runs a horse called Monbeg Dude who won on the soft at Cheltenham in November and he has a chance, although horses which need holding up generally don't do well at Chepstow.
David may also run Sona Sasta and he has a good each-way chance if the same horse which ran at Chepstow and Haydock turns up. However, if the horse that ran at the Cheltenham Festival is there, he'd have no chance at all.
I don't get to watch Channel 4 Racing on Saturdays for obvious reasons, but the new line-up is very interesting.
It's sad that John Francombe is not continuing as he's the best thing on TV full stop. But Claire Balding is very good. She's become the face of British sport and I think that will give her longevity.
Fitzy [Mick Fitzgerald] is good and getting much better all the time. I'm pleased they kept Jim McGrath, and the jury's out on Rishi Persad for the moment.
I gather they all only have short-term contracts which must put them under a lot of pressure – I'm not sure I'd cope with that type of pressure.
Over the next six weeks, the wheat will be sorted from the chaff as the Cheltenham horses are given their final prep runs before the Festival which is just ten weeks away.
It's quite an odd time of year, as it's incredibly busy over Christmas, then we have all the trials and big handicaps on Saturdays and then there's a lull up to the Festival.
Finally, I'd just like to say a huge well done to Donald McCain for reaching a century of winners before the turn of the New Year. It's an incredible achievement. I'm just pleased he sticks to racing up north as there'd be even fewer races for us to win!
Exeter's next meeting is on Wednesday, January 23, with the first race off at 1.20pm. The course has a one-off offer to dine in the Desert Orchid Restaurant for just £40 per person which includes Premier admission, a table for the day, access to the Tote and a meal of choice. To book call 01392 832599 or email email@example.com