Grand National - At The Races

Peter Scu's Grand National contenders

    Eight-time Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore famously never won the Grand National as a rider but he tells Matt Chapman about his two chances in 2017 - One For Arthur, trained by his partner Lucinda Russell, and Vieux Lion Rouge, ridden by his son Tom.


Great jockeys don't always win the great races.

PETER SCUDAMORE, the former eight-time Champion rider, techincally lined up for thirteen Grand Nationals without bagging one, although the last of those was the void race of 1993, which meant he officially competed in twelve.

As an assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies, Scudamore was linked to Bindaree and Earth Summit, however, who respectively landed the big race in 2002 and four yeears earlier.

And it's fair to say he's a little but more than just an assistant to partner Lucinda Russell, who trains leading Randox Health Grand National challenger ONE FOR ARTHUR.

The Warwick victor is not the only hope for Peter either, as of course he's also the father of Tom, who rides another market leader in VIEUX LION ROUGE for David Pipe, son of former Champion Martin, who Peter once teamed up with at Pond House Stables.

Between Peter, Tom and his brother Michael jnr, there are about 50 attempts at Grand National glory.

But don't ge the wrong impression. Scudamores can win the Grand National, indeed they have won it. But it's been 60-odd years since the name was successful. Michael Scudamore, Peter's father, triumped in 1959 on Oxo and rode in 16 consecutive Grand Nationals.

Peter Scudamore told me: "I find it quite strange in some ways people think between myself and Tom we have a bad record. I was third on Corbiere and had a great ride that day - we only used to go there once a year in those days - while Tom has won twice over the big fences including a Becher. That said of course It would be great for Lucinda and me to win it or for Tom to win it.

"It will be a little surreal if either of us manage it. This is the people's race, while the Gold Cup is for the purists. For a few minutes on Saturday everyone looks at Aintree. It's a big deal but I want to keep our feet on the ground. This is a game of big ups and downs. Anything can happen."

One For Arthur shot towards the head of the betting after winning Warwick's Classic Chase, having earlier gone close over the National fences in the Becher Chase.

He is owned by The Golf Widows, namely Deborah Thomson and Belinda McClung.

"Debs and Belinda actually went to school together and then met up again later in life," said Scudamore.

"As their husbands both play a lot of golf they wanted something they could enjoy together, too, and thought this was a good way.

"They've both had horses for years on and off, but by getting one together they've found it very enjoyable.

"They are great owners and it helps that they are both very understanding.

"Belinda is a steward and knows horses inside out, while Debs is from a farming background so a lot of the nitty gritty doesn't need explaining to them."

Grit will be what One for Arthur needs under Derek Fox, who only recently returned from injury having been nurtured by Scudamore snr.

“One for Arthur will clearly get the trip. He’s a good jumper and has been around the course (Aintree) before," said Scudamore.

"I was slightly surprised he won as easily as he did at Warwick because it looked a competitive race.

"At halfway, it looked like he had too much to do so I was pleasantly surprised he won like he did."

Scudamore added: "My only concern about lots of the runners is their form is on soft ground and the ground won't be soft Saturday.

"I have said to Tom for a long time his horse would win a decent chase - I have always loved the horse. He disappointed me last year not staying - but he's proved he stays now. He's got a great chance provided he handles the faster ground."

History and persistence play an incredible roll in Tom Scudamore's Grand National career. He has ridden in it twelve times but of course has yet to cross the finishing line first, in fact, placing eighth has been his best performance having also failed to finish eight times.

He is now the third generation of Scudamores’ to ride in the National.

Tom turned professional when he was 20 and attached himself to the Pipes stable, but also, through his father maintained close links with the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. He rode in the National for his second time in 2002, and again was the youngest rider in the race, but again victory was not to be his.

Tom is recognised as one of the top jockeys in the country who has had wins in the Weatherbys Long Distance Hurdle on Maid Equal at Ascot, the Barton and Guestier Hurdle at Aintree on Carlovent, the Ladbroke Hurdle on Desert Air, the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup Chase on Heltonic, the Eider Chase on Nil Desperandum and the VC Gold Cup Chase at Newbury on Madison du Berlais.

In March 2007 Tom was made number one jockey to David Pipe, and rode Battle Cry for him in the 2009 Grand National where he finished the course and placed 16th overall. He rode Madison Du Berlais in 2010 but fell at the 19th fence and didn't ride in the 2011 Grand National.

The 2012 season was great for Scudamore as he rode outsider The Giant Bolster second to Synchronised in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup and 24 hours later he triumphed aboard Master Overseer in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

He partnered Junior in the 2012 Grand National and despite the highest of hopes and expectations didn't get very far at all, falling at the 2nd fence on the day.

For the 2013 Grand National, Scudamore was booked for the Twiston-Davies Major Malarkey who just scraped in with a few days to go due to the withdrawal of Quinz. He got around but finished just outside of the money in 11th place.

He notched up two fantastic wins at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival in the Ryanair Chase on Dynaste and the Arkle Challenge on Western Warhorse both for Pipe.

More recently, of course Scudamore has made his name on Thistlecrack, brilliant in the 2016 World Hurdle but sadly injured before trying to land last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Scudamore's certainly have the pedigree for another Grand National victory. But will it be in 2017? Not long to find out.