TOM SCUDAMORE hopes The Package can complete a year to remember by winning the Crabbie’s Grand National.
Even though the jockey’s brother Michael is the centre of attention as the trainer of Mike Tindall’s Monbeg Dude, it would be wrong to discount The Package, who runs in the colours of the late David Johnson.
A lightly-raced horse, the 11-year-old’s only previous National experience came in 2010 when unseating Graham Lee at the 19th.
But Scudamore, just three winners short of a first century of winners, is quietly confident – even more so after Ruby Walsh, twice a winner, tipped his horse to prevail.
The Package was a creditable third to Holywell at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and Scudamore said: “Obviously the fences are different and while they still take some jumping, I see no reason why he can’t cope with it.
“When I rode him in the Hennessy in 2012, he was going better and better the further we went. I’ve always thought a marathon trip would hold no fear. He competed at Cheltenham off his mark and I think he’s got a live chance.”
Even though Scudamore is attached to David Pipe’s yard, it is a considerable vote of confidence that he has a first ride for his boss’s great rival Paul Nicholls in today’s Grade One Aintree Hurdle when he partners Irish Saint against the likes of The New One, the unlucky third in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
Scudamore is also due to be reunited with his Racing Post Arkle Trophy winner Western Warhorse in the Grade One novice chase as the surprise Cheltenham winner steps up in trip.
But all eyes will be on Dynaste as the dashing grey looks to add the Grade One Betfred Bowl to his Ryanair Chase win at Cheltenham.
It is a tough test. Today’s three-mile one-furlong race against seasoned performers like First Lieutenant and Silviniaco Conti will help to establish whether Dynaste is a Gold Cup contender of the future.
“More of the same is what we’re looking for, but we know it will be very competitive. It’s a small field but very select,” said Scudamore. “At no stage during the Ryanair did I want to rush him, which is why it maybe looked like I was quite far back.
“The trip shouldn’t worry him, he won over it last year so the track obviously suits him.”