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Cool Dude preparing for Grand National challenge

Michael Scudamore appears to have a genuine Crabbies Grand National contender on his hands judging by the fine performance of his stable star Monbeg Dude in winning the Grade 3 Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase at Cheltenham’s December fixture, writes Elliot Slater.

Backed on Betfair down from the mid-40’s to just 26 in the ante-post horse racing betting market for the Grand National on Betfair in the wake of his Cheltenham success, the 2012 Welsh Grand National hero showed that he is not just a one-trick pony by proving himself capable of producing a turn of foot over a shorter trip on better ground, surprising many observers who had reckoned the gelding for little more than a mud-loving stayer.

Even winning jockey Tom Scudamore confessed to being pleasantly surprised at the way the eight-year-old picked up going to the last fence as Colin Tizzard’s classy Theatre Guide – a fine third in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on his previous outing – set sail for home. Coming back on the bridle, the son of Witness Box easily brushed aside Theatre Guide and stayed on strongly to score an emphatic length-and-a-quarter success.

Connections decided to contest the Cheltenham race in preference to another bid for the Welsh National, having set their stall out during the summer to target their horse at Aintree on April 5. A horse who stays really well and has now proven himself capable of winning in the mud and on decent ground in useful company, Monbeg Dude is now amongst the favourites in the horse racing betting for ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’.

Although he unseated his rider on one occasion in the past, Scudamore’s charge is generally a sound jumper, a factor that should stand him in good stead if and when he takes his chance in the Grand National in the spring.


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