Dynaste: Scudamore bullish about his Ryanair chancesPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Scudamore excited by strong festival squad
A BULLISH Tom Scudamore on Saturday described Dynaste's Ryanair Chase claims as "outstanding", as he talked up his powerful book of Cheltenham Festival rides.
David Pipe's stable jockey, although a 40-1 shot to be the meeting's leading rider, boasts an array of festival fancies with Kings Palace favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, Dynaste vying with Al Ferof for Ryanair market leadership, Red Sherlock second in the betting for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and Dell' Arca, Un Temps Pour Tout and Vieux Lion Rouge also leading candidates for either novice or handicap prizes.
Dynaste, who still holds a Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup entry, flopped when a distant fifth in the King George VI Chase, which has helped make the Ryanair, for which he is a best-priced 5-1, his festival target.
Scudamore said: "The King George didn't work out but we know he's very good and, with Sprinter Sacre out of the festival, horses who might have run in the Ryanair are going for the Champion Chase instead.
"He's a worthy favourite as Al Ferof is going to have to improve on what he's done this season. He hasn't set the world alight for me.
"The more I look at the race the more excited I get. Dynaste has more than a very good chance. He has an outstanding chance."
Scudamore, already enjoying his best season numerically with 87 winners and triumphant in Saturday's Newbury feature, is also sweet on the prospects of dual Cheltenham victor Kings Palace, 3-1 favourite for the Albert Bartlett.
Scudamore said: "What's there not to like about King's Palace? He's been winning - and winning well - but it's in a week's time that counts. He's a very good horse we like a lot but someone over the water has one or two nice young horses as well. I sat on Kings Palace at Exeter the other day and he felt great. He's a big, big gun."
The going at Cheltenham remained soft on Saturday after further rain but the end of week promises some rain-free days which could help conditions dry out in the final days leading into the Cheltenham Festival.
In his latest bulletin from the track, clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "I have walked round the course and I would still call it soft. We had 10mm of rainfall yesterday. It is soft, heavy in places, on the cross-country circuit.
"The outlook remains for rain tomorrow into Monday. There could be a few bits and pieces of rain Tuesday and Wednesday and then from the end of next week to the start of the festival it is looking dry with some bright temperatures."