Tom Scudamore is hopeful that Israel Champ, a former November Meeting winner, can be a “top quality” renewal to hurdling ahead of the upcoming 2021/22 National Hunt campaign for trainer David Pipe.
The son of Milan, a former point-to-point winner, won the finale of Cheltenham’s second fixture of the season after an underwhelming showing at Worcester on his first start under rules.
And he potential was enhanced further when carrying a penalty to victory at Ascot before the turn of 2020, seeing off a hot-field in Berkshire when giving his rivals 4lb.
Speaking on the Paddock Picks Podcast, Scudamore said when asked for which horses he was most excited about for the campaign ahead: “We’ve got some lovely horses to look forward to; you just hope they can all stay in one piece.
“Israel Champ comes back from injury this season. He won a Listed bumper [the season before last] at Cheltenham and then under a penalty at Ascot, where he beat the very good horse of Jonjo O’Neill’s [Soaring Glory] who ended up winning the Betfair Hurdle.
“He beat Bravemansgame and a number of other good horses that day, so you’d like to think he’ll be top, top quality provided his body stays in one piece.
“We’re getting close. The talk has got to stop and we’ve got to crack on, and get on with it.”
The Gloucestershire pilot also provided his thoughts on some other candidates to keep your eyes peeled on ahead of jump racing’s winter return.
“Adagio was a top-class juvenile last year and it’s always hard to see how they’ll go and improve after their grade, but there’s no reason why not and if he doesn’t, then he’s got plenty of options.
“Remastered had a great season last year. He’d be one for the big handicaps and you’d hope that he can make the step up into graded races.
“I rode a really nice horse of Sam Thomas’s who was unbeaten last year called Skytastic. He won around Newbury in a race that worked out very well and then he dotted up at Doncaster, so he could be one that goes [into the new season] under the radar.”