Tom Scudamore: Striving to fit together Cheltenham jigsaw
I was very pleased with Grands Crus after his racecourse gallop at Exeter on Tuesday. He did just what we hoped he would, but I still don't know where he runs at Cheltenham, if he runs at all.
Zaynar is a very good horse in his own right, and it was good for him to gallop too, as he hasn't run yet this season.
It's like fitting the pieces of a giant jigsaw together regarding the Festival next week. Until the five-day entries are out, you don't have a clue what you'll be riding, but there are two key factors – the ground and the weight. Until you know the latter, you just have to wait and see. We're not trying to be clever or anything, we're just weighing up all the options.
The ground hasn't been great in the run-up to the Festival and everyone is saying it has made it more tricky, but it always seems tricky because it's here and now. Every year is a puzzle.
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The weather has been fantastic as it's drying the ground out but it wouldn't take a lot of rain to turn it back, and I just hope they don't water Cheltenham as then they will be in a lot of trouble. With the water table still very high, rain on watered ground will not be something any of us would look forward to riding on.
I have a very exciting bunch of horses to ride, and, with the exception of those, the horse I'd want to be on is Overturn as he will beat Simonsig!
Simonsig has had two runs over fences and has beaten eight horses. Overturn has had three runs and has beaten nine horses. At Cheltenham there are much bigger fields and it's very different from winning with your head in your chest. Every horse that runs is very, very good.
You get to the top of the hill, and you're going faster than you've ever been before. It's the ones who can cope with that and are still in their comfort zones that win.
You go through the same emotions than in any other race, but you find yourself thinking: 'I thought you were better than this.'
Derek O'Connor rode Simonsig in his point-to-points and said he was the best horse he has ever ridden, but he'll be chasing Overturn at the top of the hill! It's going to be a great race.
The thing about Cheltenham is that it's such a test of speed and stamina. If you have to kick on, you have to keep going because the ones behind you will do the same.
I think I will probably have a ride in the Supreme Novices' which kicks it all off on Tuesday. It's very quiet down at the start, but it all happens so quickly and, before you know it, you're off. I'll get to the races relatively early and I'll walk the course, just to get out of the weighing room and for something to do. Then there will be some media stuff to do in the boxes. It will be quite an intense four days.
I'll stay with Lottie at Nigel Twiston-Davies' place. Lottie will have a good time, but she will also be very supportive as she knows how much pressure I will be under. Then again, if you can't get excited by Cheltenham, I don't think anything will excite you!
Exeter Racecourse has a special offer on Tuesday, March 19, to come racing in style and dine in the Desert Orchid Restaurant. The offer includes a premier badge, table for the day, access to the Tote and a meal and costs £40 per person. Book by telephone (01392 832599) or email: email@example.com
Racing tickets cost from £13 if booked in advance, with Grandstand and Paddock tickets available from £10 each for groups of ten or more. The first race on March 19 is off at 2pm. A free bus to the racecourse leaves Exeter St Davids at 12.20pm and Exeter Bus Station at 12.35pm and returns 30 minutes after the last race. Book by telephone (0844 5793005) or online: www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk