2014 Racing News

Dude keeping cool ahead of Aintree challenge

In 1959 jockey Michael Scudamore rode Oxo to a famous success in the Grand National at Aintree. Now, 55 years later, his grandson, also called Michael, will saddle the well fancied Monbeg Dude and attempt to complete a famous long-range double for the family, writes Elliot Slater.

Monbeg Dude certainly appears to have plenty going for him as the build-up to the world’s greatest steeplechase continues, and ran as well as could be expected after a mid-term break when fifth behind Night In Milan in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in early-March. On his previous start in mid-December the nine-year-old put up a career-best effort when powering home up the Cheltenham hill to record a length-and-a-quarter victory over Theatre Guide in the Grade 3 Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase over three-and-a-half miles.

His Cheltenham win came on good ground and proved that Scudamore’s charge is not just a mudlark and cannot be written off on account of the expected decent surface at Aintree on April 5. Monbeg Dude is probably best known for his fine win in the 2012 Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, a race run in positively bog-like conditions, in which he toughed it out and eventually got the better of the gallant Teaforthree, the current favourite for the Grand National at a top-priced 9/1. Monbeg Dude can still be backed at up to 20/1 in places for the Grand National so appears solid value with Paul Carberry, who partnered him to victory at Chepstow, booked to take the ride once again. Owners Oydunow agreed to support Scudamore’s plan of not running in the Welsh National this time around in order to keep their gaze firmly trained on Aintree, and after his solid return to the fray at Doncaster the signs are that their horse is coming to the peak of his powers at just the right time.

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