Kingswell Theatre rolled back the years to capture the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase for a second time, as both Easysland
and Tiger Roll
disappointed in the feature contest on Countryside Day.
Dual Randox Health Grand National hero Tiger Roll’s presence meant that Kingswell Theatre
lined up 18lb out of the handicap, but the Michael Scudamore-trained 11-year-old made every yard of the running to emulate his victory in the race in 2017.
Tiger Roll never looked comfortable and was pulled up by Robbie Power, while French raider Easysland, sent off a red-hot 8/11 favourite following a commanding win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at The Festival
™ in March, could only finish fourth.
By contrast, Kingswell Theatre travelled enthusiastically throughout under Tom Scudamore and stayed on gamely to beat Beau Du Brizais by five lengths, with a further two lengths back to Potters Corner
Michael Scudamore said: "It is strange - I was speaking to Tom [Scudamore, jockey] about whether it was worth running him, because he didn't look good at the weights - apart from the top two or three, nothing else was given a chance. But he loves it round here, he comes alive round here, and Tom's given him a great ride. It's great credit to the horse, to have done it in 2017 and to come back three years later, with all the problems he's had – it is great credit to him and to the team at home, who have done a great job.
"He's funny, he's such a laid-back character. Even on Sunday when we brought him for a school round here, the head groundsman said that he looked a bit lazy and lethargic. But the moment he stepped off the lorry today, he just held himself in a different way, I suppose like an athlete, or a footballer going to Wembley, you just have that little bit more about you, and he was the same, just pricked his ears, his head was a bit higher and he walked with a bit more purpose. It sounds corny, but it's true."
Tom Scudamore said: “He has been a fantastic horse for Michael, myself and my daughter Margot rides him at home too, so he is a very special horse for all our family.
“To be fair to him, he pretty much knows where he is going, even at the canal turns and things, he is so quick and away. It was a race before he came along that I was never really keen on. Since he has come along, I absolutely love it.
“You have got to have the right type of horse to go and do it. It is certainly not an afterthought when you are taking on the likes of Enda Bolger and the French horses, who are doing it so often. A lot of the time I think we think ‘we will run them in a cross-country race to try and liven them up or doing something different with them’, whereas it’s a main target for a lot of other people, and when you have that mentality you’re always playing catch-up.
“Obviously, we hope Tiger Roll is OK, he hasn’t run his race and Easysland as well. Kingswell is a good horse round here on his day. He’s won this race before and I know we were [a long way out of the] handicap, but I did believe we would be placed and it’s the first time he’s had his ground here since he won. It has always been too soft for him really, so that gave me a lot more confidence too and jumping the second last gave me plenty of confidence.
“Any winner round here is very special, but I suppose this is our local track growing up. Myself and Michael spent a lot of time here both when we were meant to and when we were not meant too! So, it holds many special memories and to ride a winner for Michael is great. He’s having a fantastic season and is just a very good trainer — you can see that to get a horse that primed first time out speaks volumes for him and what he is doing.
“It’s great credit [to my brother], but it’s even more of a family success as my daughter has done all the hard work on him. Margot conveniently had a day off today, she’s at the 'dentist'… it’s all worked out brilliantly. I’m so proud of him [the horse], I’m so proud of Michael and a lot of credit has to go to Margot as well.
“I am delighted to ride a winner for Michael, especially on ITV Racing.”