‘Big, big gun’ shooting for success

Kings Palace and Tom Scudamore
Kings Palace and Tom Scudamore
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Minellatillmorning won the Happy Birthday Sarah Cotty Handicap Hurdle. Picture: Fontwell Park

Balding celebrates Glory at Fontwell

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Tom Scudamore is gunning for more Cheltenham Festival glory today.

And in Kings Palace the 31-year-old jockey may have the perfect ammunition to add to the three wins he has already recorded this week.

Scudamore rides David Pipe’s six-year-old gelding in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle this afternoon (2.40pm).

He first sat on the son of King’s Theatre at Fontwell in October.

The duo chalked up a narrow win over Kaki De La Pree in a maiden hurdle that day before back-to-back successes at Cheltenham before Christmas.

The second of those – a 14-length demolition of Masters Hill – came in the Grade 2 Bristol Novices’ Hurdle and confirmed Kings Palace as a serious talent.

He is the 7/2 second favourite – behind Briar Hill – for today’s Grade 1 battle.

Scudamore, who famously won consecutive National Spirit Hurdles at Fontwell with Lough Derg, has described his mount as a ‘big, big gun’.

And he is confident of blowing his Festival rivals away as he aims to add to wins on Western Warhorse, Dynaste and Ballynagour.

‘I have really enjoyed it so far,’ said Scudamore.

‘It’s fantastic and I have been very, very lucky.

‘It’s not just the winners, it’s about riding the right horses.

‘David has done an incredible job again – what a master, what a buzz!

‘I have four rides today, all with reasonably good chances.

‘What’s there not to like about Kings Palace?

‘He’s been winning – and winning well.

‘He’s a very good horse we like a lot.

‘I sat on him at Exeter the other day and he felt great.

‘He’s a big, big gun.’

Pipe, who trains all three of Scudamore’s winners, added: ‘I think the race probably rests between him and Briar Hill.

‘I thought Kings Palace was my best chance at the Festival at the beginning of the week!’

Broughton – a winner at Glorious Goodwood last summer – kicks today’s action off in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm).

Meanwhile, Fontwell winners Shantou Magic and Junction Fourteen go in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (4.40pm).

The final day’s feature race is the blue riband event of the whole meeting – the Gold Cup (3.20pm).