TOM SCUDAMORE has spoken of his pride after becoming the latest jump jockey to reach the milestone of 1,000 career winners.
He reached the landmark with a smooth success on Impulsive American at Musselburgh for his boss David Pipe.
It was Scudamore’s 990th win over jumps with his four-figure tally made up of 10 successes on the Flat.
He follows in the footsteps of National Hunt icons like Sir Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson, Richard Dunwoody, John Francome and Stan Mellor.
He also makes history by being the first to emulate his father, Peter Scudamore, who was champion jockey eight times.
Scudamore’s long-term target will be eclipsing his famous father’s career tally of 1,678 victories.
His more immediate focus, however, is today’s Ivan Straker Memorial Chase at Kelso when he partners Soll, his probable ride in the Crabbies Grand National.
He is also due to ride Dynaste – the 2014 Ryanair Chase hero – at Ascot on Saturday and is the jockey with the privilege of riding Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack who is favourite for next month’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on the back of three stirring successes this season.
“I was told a few weeks ago when I was at Pond House (Pipe’s stable) that I was getting very close to 1,000 winners and from then on I’ve been aware of it,” said the 33-year-old who is widely regarded as the most improved jockey of recent years. “It’s something that’s very special.
“When you set off on our career the first thing you want to do is to ride one winner and go from there. The names of those who have ridden 1,000 winners is just phenomenal.
“I’ve been very fortunate with the people I’ve ridden for. The one biggest highlight would be winning on Next Sensation at the Cheltenham Festival for my brother, Michael, last year. I think whatever I achieve in the future will never match that. Every winner has meant something in some way, but that meant a bit more.”
Scudamore senior said: “It’s a very special club. To be champion jockey is fantastic, but to join the 1,000 winners club, which Andrew Thornton is trying to do now, is a mark of having done something.”
The dominance of Willie Mullins can be measured by the fact that Ireland’s top trainer is still responsible for the top three horses in the Champion Hurdle betting despite the injury-enforced absence of 2015 hero Faugheen.
On the day that Mullins confirmed that Faugheen had suffered a season-ending ligament injury, he was compensated by brilliant mare Annie Power’s classy comeback win at Punchestown.
A final flight faller with the OLBG Mares Hurdle at her mercy last March, Annie Power was immediately installed as the new Champion Hurdle favourite ahead of stablemates Arctic Fire and Nichols Canyon. She would still have to be supplemented at a cost of £20,000 – small change to her multi-millionaire owner Rich Ricci whose equine superstars also include Faugheen.
The one beneficiary could be The New One. Britain’s top hurdler has twice been denied in the race, but trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said bullishly: “I’ve never had him better.”