• Racing/
  • Dude Enhances National Claims

Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f 110y

  • (4yo+, 3m 1f 110y, Class 1, 9 runners)
  • Winner £25,628 2nd £9,616 3rd £4,815 4th £2,398 5th £1,206 6th £603
  • Going: Good (Cross Country: Good, Good to Firm in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 32.80s
  • Off time: 14:10:21
  • Last Updated: December 13 2013, 18:16 GMT

Monbeg Dude enhanced his Grand National claims with victory in the Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

Monbeg Dude: Grand National bid considered for Cheltenham winner
Monbeg Dude: Grand National bid considered for Cheltenham winner

Brothers Tom and Michael Scudamore could be harbouring hopes of following in their grandfather's footsteps as they teamed up to take the Grade 3 event with the minimum of fuss.

Knockara Beau and Aimigayle ensured that there was to be no hanging about in the contest and having sent off at a breakneck pace, it was little surprise that the race was going to be fought out by horses that been kept away from the early gallop.

Hennessy third, Theatre Guide, seemed somewhat lit up by the pace and having made significant headway to challenge for the lead some way out, Joe Tizzard eventually allowed him his head with two to jump, but the eye was drawn to Tom Scudamore who was motionless on the 6/1 chance.

Apparently cruising with plenty underneath him, Scudamore produced the eight-year-old at the last and though he may have idled slightly on the run-in; he ran out a very comprehensive winner.

Winning trainer Michael Scudamore said: "This tops everything. His jumping is very much down to Zara (Mike Tindall's wife). She deserves all the credit for that. The horse has been there four or five times this year.

"Every time he has gone there, he has just got more and more confidence and more and more reassured. She has done a great job with him, as have the team at home.

"It is lovely for the owners - they can come out and forget about what they do - especially for James, who has had a tough time in the last month or so. They are really nice people and good friends - nobody deserves it more than them.

"It was my decision not to go for the Welsh National this season and the boys have stood by it. Aintree is the long-term goal if we can keep everything in one piece.

"I will see how the handicapper reacts to this but Monbeg Dude is a good 20lb to 30lb short of Cheltenham Gold Cup standard and it was a day out last season. The Gold Cup is not in our thoughts at the moment but we will sit down and maybe he will have an entry again. If it came up very soft, it might be silly not to be in it."

Tom Scudamore said: "I've been very lucky to ride for some very nice people and ride some very good horses, but this is up there with everything. I can't describe it.

"I'm so pleased for him (Michael). He's really turned it around. Three months ago he was really struggling, but all credit to him, he's turned it around.

"He's proving he can train. He's had 15 winners in a short space of time and what a fantastic job he's done with this horse. To ride a winner at Cheltenham, to repay my brother, there's nothing else like it."

Zara Phillips is an Olympic medal-winning eventer and her expertise has come in handy at sharpening Monbeg Dude's jumping technique.

Owned among others by Phillips' husband, former England rugby captain Mike Tindall, last season's Welsh National hero was striking for the first time since that occasion.

  • Wonderful Charm jumps alongside Oscar Whisky in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase
  • The field are tightly grouped in the Caspian Caviar Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase
  • King Massini leads from Al Alfa
  • King Massini has a clear advantage but had to work hard for victory
  • The Skyfarmer and Lyvius go toe-to-toe
  • Zara Phillips looks pensive before Monbeg Dude's run
  • So too does co-owner Mike Tindall
  • Theatre Guide travelled strongly
  • But couldn't repel the Dude on the run-in
  • The winner now has the Grand National in his sights
  • Winning trainer Michael Scudamore is all smiles
  • Sire Collonges leads the field in the cross-country
  • Shalimar Fromentro, Imperial Circus and Sire Collonges jump the fence spectacularly
  • Sunnyhillboy rolls back the years in the three mile handicap hurdle
  • The bookmakers' boards shine brightly in the gloaming
  • Ballyalton sends some punters home happy in the finale
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Phillips, who is expecting her first child, was modest. "No credit should be given to me at all," she said. "I'm only doing a small amount, Scu is doing the hard work.

"We did a bit of pole work, got him to move his feet a bit quicker and think about it a bit more. He is a good jumper and you can see he is so much more efficient over his fences. It makes the whole race easier for him."

Tindall added: "Last month here he was in front and then he didn't really know what to do. He seems to enjoy it when he can look another horse in the eye. Aintree would be the dream, but we'll need to sit down with Scu and have a proper discussion about it."

Joe Tizzard rode the runner-up and he said: "I was really pleased with the horse, it's the best he's ever travelled and jumped. Fair play to the winner, it was a good performance and third was a long way back. He's put two good performances together back-to-back now and we've been patient with him, he's ready to race now."

The evergreen Pigeon Island, who won at the 2010 Festival, ran up the hill to finish a never nearer third.

Monbeg Dude was cut into 25/1 for the Crabbie's Grand National by Sky Bet following the victory.

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