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Remastered engineers Reynoldstown triumph

Remastered put in an exemplary jumping display to make every yard of the running for trainer David Pipe and jockey Tom Scudamore in the Grade Two Bateaux London Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot.

The 9-2 winner is likely to head to the National Hunt Chase or Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at next month’s Cheltenham Festival – for which he is respectively 20-1 (from 33) and 25-1 (from 33) with Paddy Power.

Remastered appeared to face a major threat from 5-2 favourite Demachine rounding the home turn, but Pipe’s front-runner found extra to score by four lengths.

Scudamore was suitably impressed, and said: “He jumped superbly all the way round, and fences have made a real man of him.

“He’s unbeaten over fences and has really taken to them. He’s got plenty of options at Cheltenham. He’s only run once there before, but that was over hurdles and a couple of years ago.”

Second-favourite Sevarano pulled up in the early stages – while Kalooki looked dangerous until hitting the final ditch, four out, and then fading to finish a distant third.

Sadly, Sevarano suffered a fatal injury – confirmed via Twitter by the Oliver Sherwood stable.

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A tweet read: “We are all devastated to lose Sevarano today @ascot_races. He had the world at his feet. He was such a lovely laid-back gentleman who didn’t deserve his life to end this way. Thank you for all your wonderful memories.”

In the opening greatbritishstallionshowcase.co.uk Novices’ Hurdle, the market told the story as Midnight River usurped Gallyhill as favourite – and then got the better of that rival in a rousing finish.

One True King made a bold attempt to lead throughout, but a mistake at the penultimate flight set him back – leaving 5-4 shot Midnight River and Harry Skelton to beat Gallyhill and Nico de Boinville by a length and a half.

Harry Skelton and Midnight River (left) jump the last
Harry Skelton and Midnight River (left) jump the last (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

After riding another winner for his brother Dan, Skelton said: “He’s a horse we’ve always liked, with a good attitude.

“He used to be a bit free but has been taught to settle, and I think the best is yet to come because he’s a three-mile chaser of the future.

“We might look at Cheltenham, and certainly Aintree, but fences are the main objective.”

The Skeltons completed a double when Captain Chaos made virtually all the running in the ‘My Oddsboost’ On Betfair Swinley Limited Handicap Chase.

Harry Skelton after riding Captain Chaos to victory
Harry Skelton after riding Captain Chaos to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Accompanied by Cobolobo for three-quarters of the three-mile journey, the 10-1 winner shook off the attentions of that rival turning for home, but in the end was all out to hold the late rally of Regal Encore by a head.

The strongly-supported 3-1 favourite Jerrysback recovered from an early mistake to track the clear leaders, but then lost touch and was pulled up by Richard Johnson.

Harry Skelton praised the accurate jumping of the winner and observed: “He really enjoyed himself and took off again when Jonjo’s (O’Neill jnr, on Cobolobo) horse came back at him. It was a brilliant jumping display and all credit to our superb team who worked so hard during the bad weather.”

A fantastic treble for the Skeltons was achieved in carbon-copy fashion as Shannon Bridge served it up to his foes from the front in the Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Handicap Hurdle.

Shannon Bridge capped a fine day's work at Ascot for Dan and Harry Skelton
Shannon Bridge capped a fine day’s work at Ascot for Dan and Harry Skelton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

In the knowledge his mount liked to be competitive, Harry Skelton wasted no time in sending his 12-1 partner to the front and although under strong pressure before two out the eight-year-old kept responding.

He was briefly headed by 80-1 outsider Thibault on the run-in, but instantly regained the initiative to pull two lengths clear.

Skelton observed: “Our owners are great about the way I ride the horses and never stick me down to do one thing or the other. Shannon Bridge likes to get on with it, and the blinkers have helped. He just idled a bit over the last two hurdles, but just as suddenly he took off again.”

Adam West was thrilled with bargain-basement purchase Thibault, saying: “He cost a grand and has been a revelation since we put him back over hurdles. He’s given us another great thrill today.”

There was a sad postscript to the race, with the popular L’Ami Serge quickly pulled up after the sixth flight, having looked to have gone wrong. Yalltari, in the race won by Captain Chaos, was another casualty.

Ascot’s director of racing and public affairs Nick Smith extended his sympathy to all those involved with the three horses.

He said: “It’s always very sad when these things happen, and we extend our sympathy to all the connections.”

Scudamore’s daughter surprised by social media attention following Festival plea

Margot Scudamore, daughter of jump jockey Tom, had no idea a letter she penned out of frustration to Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the likelihood of missing her beloved Kingswell Theatre running at the Cheltenham Festival would cause so much fuss.

Margot, 14, is a budding jump jockey and has ridden Kingswell Theatre at the stables of her uncle, Michael Scudamore.

She had been looking forward to seeing the 12-year-old team up with her father in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, albeit on television, but news that the Government has scheduled a return to school on March 8 – the week before the Festival – came as a blow to her hopes.

In her letter, Margot asked the Prime Minister to delay the return by two weeks or allow schools to show the racing on television.

Margot is currently home schooling and her father came across the letter when going through her work. He posted the letter on social media, causing plenty of feedback.

She said: “I’d had a bad day and heard the news that we were going back to school the week before Cheltenham. My godmother asked me what I was going to do about it and I said I was going to write a letter.

“I just wanted to get it all out on paper. I had no idea it would get this big.

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“From just being on Twitter and having 30-odd comments, it went to being in the ‘paper.

“I probably won’t be able to go to Cheltenham, so I’ll have my phone under the table.

“All my friends are interested in racing. It’s a great sport because you don’t have to be horsey to be involved. I’ll be back at school on March 8 by look of things, but I don’t think anyone really knows.”

She has ambitions to be a jockey, which comes as no surprise for she is part of the famous Scudamore dynasty. Her great grandfather Michael won the Grand National on Oxo in 1959, her grandfather Peter was champion jump jockey eight times, her father Tom is a leading jump jockey and her uncle Michael a successful jumps trainer.

“I’m not into any education. I’m all into my riding and stuff,” she said.

“I’ve been riding out for almost three years now. I remember I went to Warwick with my dad, I had my bag with me so I decided to go to my uncle’s. The following morning I saw on the board I was down to ride Kingswell Theatre. It was amazing as he had won at Cheltenham not long before.

“He’s been the only one I’ve ever wanted to ride. I’d like to ride him a lot more. He’s very special.

“I ride him every time I go up there. I used to go every other weekend and spend a couple of weeks there in the summer.

“It’s pretty good experience and I’d like to be a conditional jockey for my uncle when I get older.

“Dad wants me to get all my school work done and then do that afterwards hopefully. I would like to go to equine college.”

Margot is already a winner on her brief foray so far on the pony circuit.

“I’ve been able to get on the pony circuit recently, but that has come to a halt at the moment,” she said.

“I only had a couple of rides, but I had a winner on my second ride. My dad’s been a massive help and I’m just waiting for the season to hopefully kickstart again.

“It’s so cool to be involved with a horse like him (Kingswell Theatre). I hope he doesn’t retire yet. He’s still got a lot of life left in him – and so has dad. They both have.”

Her father said: “People seem to have enjoyed it, more so than her! It’s caused a bit of mirth. I’m hoping she gets a zoom call with the Prime Minister!

“She’s home schooling. I was going through her homework and came across the letter along with everything else.”

Royale Pagaille rises to Peter Marsh challenge

Royale Pagaille looks a horse destined for the very top judged on a brilliant display in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.

The French import was beaten on his first two starts for trainer Venetia Williams and leading owner Rich Ricci last season, but appears much improved this winter, with this his third successive victory.

A novice chase success on Merseyside was followed by an emphatic victory on his handicap debut at Kempton over the Christmas period – and even a 16lb hike in the weights to a lofty mark of 156 was nowhere near enough to stop him completing his hat-trick in devastating style.

Initially ridden with restraint by Tom Scudamore, Royale Pagaille jumped and travelled with such fluency that he tanked his way to the from racing down the back straight for the second time.

While most of his rivals had cried enough in the ultra-testing conditions rounding the home turn, Scudamore’s mount was remarkably still full of running – and safely negotiated the remaining obstacles in the straight to score by 16 lengths.

Scudamore said: “To do that in this ground – win off a mark of 156 by 16 lengths – is very impressive. You don’t get too many horses that are able to do that.

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“I don’t know him well enough to know if this ground is important to him, but he’s handled it well enough today.

“He’s jumped from fence to fence and travelled so well. He’d got them cooked at the top of the straight.

“It was a huge thrill and a pleasure to be able to ride him today.”

The seven-year-old has several options at the Cheltenham Festival, having been entered for three of the four novice chases, as well as the Cheltenham Gold Cup – for which Coral go as short as 12-1.

Scudamore said: “I’ll leave plans entirely up to Venetia and Rich Ricci. I was just lucky to be able to ride him today.

“He’s a second-season novice. I’ve ridden some very nice novice chases and he’s up there with the best of them.

“Whatever they go for, whether it’s the RSA (now Festival Novices’ Chase), or the Gold Cup or the National Hunt Chase, the world is most certainly his oyster.”

Williams was at Ascot, where she was guarded on a Gold Cup bid, but nevertheless delighted with her charge’s progress.

She said: “I bought him at the Arqana Sale at Deauville in November 2019, and it took me until 12 months later to sell him, and that’s when Rich and Susannah (Ricci) stepped in.

“Looking at the times (at Haydock), I don’t imagine it was too heavy up there – but the handicapper will hike him up again, and it will force me to put him in rare areas near the top.

“This is his third season as a novice chaser, and in the first two he didn’t win, but he’s very progressive now.

“But I was delighted. He’s a perfect example of a horse that’s needed time.

“I can’t say he will definitely go for the Gold Cup, and there will be much discussion before any decisions are reached.”

Adagio strikes Grade One gold with Finale success

Adagio proved too strong for hot favourite Nassalam in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

Having won by 59 and 49 lengths respectively on his first two starts in Britain at Fontwell, Gary Moore’s Nassalam was the even-money favourite to complete his hat-trick on his step up to Grade One level.

However, David Pipe’s Adagio also brought strong form to the table – winning two of his first three starts over obstacles, including a short-priced victory at Cheltenham last month.

With long-time lead Bannister beginning to falter from the home turn, it turned into a three-way fight between Nassalam, Adagio and the Paul Nicholls-trained French recruit Houx Gris, before the former pair turned the screw and drew clear.

It was clear on the run to the final flight that Adagio had more to give than the market leader and he galloped all the way to the line to score by two and a half lengths under Tom Scudamore.

Pipe said: “It was a very good performance and the first two were favourite and second-favourite, so it’s rock solid form.

“I think we learnt a lot when he got beaten by Duffle Coat at Cheltenham in November. Last time at Cheltenham we rode him with more restraint and we did again today.

“We hadn’t declared him for this race when it was originally due to be run over Christmas. We came here today hoping it wouldn’t be quite as bad, it’s only soft ground rather than heavy and he’s handled that well.”

Coral cut Adagio to 12-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Pipe added: “We were coming here today to find out whether we were going for the Triumph Hurdle or the Fred Winter. It will be the Triumph Hurdle now.

“He’s always gone well at home – he’s got an engine. He was a bit quirky early on, but he’s improved since he’s been gelded.

“We’ll see how he comes out of today. Maybe he’ll go straight to Cheltenham, or maybe he’ll have one more run somewhere.

“We’ll enjoy today and have a think about it next week.”

Scudamore takes straightforward path to third Trophy victory

Keeping things simple can often be the best route to glory, as Tom Scudamore demonstrated with a fine front-running ride aboard Cloth Cap to secure a record-equalling third Ladbrokes Trophy success at Newbury.

Rarely will victory in one of jump racing’s flagship contests have much smoother than it was for the 38-year-old aboard Jonjo O’Neill’s charge.

While it is the final result that counts, getting a good start can often be overlooked – a factor Scudamore believes was key to the pair’s triumph.

Scudamore said: “I just wanted to get a good start. It’s the first time he has really had the ground since he was placed in the Scottish National.

“I just thought the important bit would be in the first four or five fences, as I didn’t want to get too far back and as I’d never get at them.

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“When he winged the first ditch, the second fence, I was thinking I could be in for quite a thrill here, and so it turned out. It was great, very straightforward.”

Getting down to 10st can be difficult for some jockeys, not for Scudamore though, who barely had to break out of his regular routine in order to take up, what would turn out to be, a rare winning ride for O’Neill.

He added: “Siruh Du Lac was taken out at the entry stage, I had ridden for Jonjo a little bit in the past and a bit more for Mr Hemmings and they wanted someone that could commit and do 10st.

“Richie (McLernon) was claimed for Regal Encore and Jonjo (O’Neill junior), with it being 10st, wouldn’t be able to do the weight, so it worked out quite nicely.

“I’m always quite fit and I wouldn’t be letting my weight get away with me, so it wouldn’t be a problem. I was still able to have something last night and just sit in a hot bath for half an hour this morning, but nothing too bad.”

Having eclipsed his father Peter’s tally of two wins in the race, Scudamore was delighted to be able to give O’Neill, who failed to win the three-and-a-quarter-mile prize as a rider, his first victory in the Grade Three as a trainer.

He added: “Jonjo is just about the best trainer of staying chasers there is. He has won the Grand National, Irish Grand National and Gold Cup, he beat me (as a trainer) in the Gold Cup and I forgive him now!

“I’ve won it for the Pipes, Tizzards and Jonjo and that is quite an impressive roll of trainers to win a big race for, so I’m very grateful and Dad and Jonjo go back a long way.

“He has always been very kind to me, so I’m pleased I’m able to reward his faith with a nice winner.”

The stands may have been sparsely populated with only a small number of owners, trainers and racecourse staff dotted about, but it failed to take the gloss off the victory for Scudamore.

He added: “It is sad there are not many people here, but from my point of view, you have to concentrate on the job in hand.

“Yes it would be nice for other people to be here and great for the racecourse, but in the circumstances racing has done a great job.

“Growing up, I always felt it was one of the classic races. To come out and win this again is a great thrill, as it is one of the best races on probably the best course to ride.”

Cloth Cap makes all for Ladbrokes Trophy triumph

Cloth Cap ran the opposition into the ground with a superb all-the-way triumph in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained eight-year-old was given an ultra-positive ride by Tom Scudamore, who also made the most of carrying bottom weight in the prestigious staying handicap chase.

With Cloth Cap, carrying the familiar colours of Trevor Hemmings, putting in an impeccable round of jumping, Scudamore was always in control.

The well-fancied Vinndication was close up but he came down at the fifth-last fence.

Aye Right, who was prominent throughout, tried to lay down a bid, as did last year’s runner-up The Conditional, but Cloth Cap held all the aces.

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The 9-1 shot galloped on strongly from the last to win by 10 lengths from Aye Right (12-1). The Conditional (14-1) was a length and a half away in third place with The Hollow Ginge (50-1) fourth.

Cloth Cap was slashed to 25-1 from 66-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair for the Randox Health Grand National.

O’Neill said: “He has been in tremendous form. His run at Cheltenham when Richie (McLernon) rode him was a cracker. It was great – he jumped brilliantly, it was just brilliant.

“I said to Tom ‘he gets four miles, so the rest is down to you’ – obviously he did his home work. The ride came about through Dave Roberts his agent. We were looking for someone to do 10st and I couldn’t do it, so I thought Tom was the next best thing!

“I was second on Tamalin one year, behind a horse (Zeta’s Son) ridden by Ian Watkinson and trained by Peter Bailey. Michael Buckley owned it and I can still see the colours.

“It is a great start to the season and it was brilliant. Most of the team are running well.

“It is great to win it for anybody. For Trevor it is great, as he loves long-distance chasers and we have been trying to get him to run in the National really, so he is probably on a mark where he will probably get in.

“He needs good ground and that is important to him really. If he gets his ground in the National, take the price now. I was a bit worried about the ground as the lads were saying it is a bit slower today as he wants it good. It was good enough and that is the main thing.”

Graham said: “We are just so chuffed. All week I’ve been thinking ‘are we above ourselves taking on all these fantastic trainers and fantastic southern horses’.

Aye Right (right) delighted his trainer Harriet Graham
Aye Right (right) delighted his trainer Harriet Graham (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I’ve always thought so much of him and Callum (Bewley) and him have got on really well. We’ve stayed loyal to our jockey and the owners stayed loyal to him and he did a fantastic job.

“The horse jumped incredibly and galloped and we were brave enough to take it to them – it was a super job.

“Over cups of coffee at the kitchen table, we’ve often thought of the Scottish National and we had been going to go to that meeting last season for a supporting chase. That is on the radar, but it is a long way away. I think we have a really nice horse.”