TOM scudamore has Western Warhorse’s owner Roger Brookhouse to thank for the biggest win of his burgeoning career.
It was Brookhouse who persuaded in-form Scudamore, and trainer David Pipe, to drop his horse back in trip after narrowly beating Keith and James Reveley’s Victor Hewgo at Doncaster in early January.
The result? Western Warhorse, a £130,000 purchase having just his second chase start, getting up on the line in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy to deny Ruby Walsh who had attempted to make all on the gutsy Champagne Fever.
“I can’t believe it. Normally I am full of words but I don’t know what to say on this occasion,” said Scudamore, who is enjoying a career-best season and whose grandfather Michael won this Grade One race on Greektown in 1964.
“I thought they were mad running him in the race but it was just extraordinary – the way he has jumped over the first couple, I couldn’t go the pace but his jumping has kept me in it the whole way through.
“We bought him to be a three-mile chaser and he has gone and won the Arkle – it’s extraordinary. You get so many emotions with him because he is a lunatic to get on – you don’t know what he is going to do next, he doesn’t even know what he is going to do next.”
Next season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase is likely to be the long-term target for Western Warhorse while Champagne Fever is likely to be stepped up in trip by his trainer Willie Mullins.
Earlier Vautor broke the course record in the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle for Walsh and Mullins.
This looks to be a horse of immense promise after the 7-2 joint-favourite made nearly all the running before sweeping to a convicing victory ahead of Josses Hill, who was six lengths in arrears under Malton-born Andrew Tinkler. “He’s a serious horse,” said Walsh.