Monbeg Dude (left): jumped the last alongside Theatre Guide before powering up the hill to win by a length and a quarter at odds of 6-1PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Monbeg Dude lands Grade 3 for Scudamores
MONBEG DUDE won a third Grade 3 and a first under Tom Scudamore for his brother Michael as the eight-year-old overpowered the 7-2 favourite Theatre Guide up the Cheltenham hill.
Yet the victory was a team effort that extended beyond immediate family. Part-owner Mike Tindall, the Rugby World Cup-winning former England captain, drafted in the help of his wife and London 2012 Great Britain team eventing silver medal winner Zara Phillips to help with Monbeg Dude's jumping.
"We'd like to take all the glory, but the credit for his jumping has to go to Zara," said an emotional trainer afterwards, who described having a Grade 3 winner at Cheltenham, ridden by his brother, as the highlight of his training career so far, eclipsing January's Welsh National success.
"He's been to Zara's four or five times now and every time he's come back more assured and it's made the difference today."
Tindall added: "Zara's always said he's a good jumper, he just perhaps wasn't respecting his fences properly."
Clarifying her role and deflecting the credit, Phillips said: "We've just taught him to use his feet a little more intelligently. He's older and stronger and Michael's done a fantastic job."
The winning trainer suggested the Grand National would be the long-term aim, with Betfred going 20-1 about Monbeg Dude for the Crabbie's-sponsored marathon, however Paddy Power left him unchanged at 33-1.
He said: "The owners backed my call not to consider the Welsh National and at the moment the Grand National looks a good call. I don't think there's any point running him before the weights come out."
Tom Scudamore was equally emotional after the race. He said: "I have been very lucky to ride for some very nice people and some very good horses but this is right up there. I am so pleased for him and everybody involved.
"That is about his 15th winner in a short space of a time and he is proving that he can train. What a fantastic job he has done with this horse. I am so pleased for him. To ride a winner at Cheltenham for my brother - there is nothing like it."