Tom Scudamore: Class on show at Pipe's yard is consolation
It was frustrating to miss a few winners last week with my ban, but it's such an exciting time at David Pipe's yard at the moment that I can't be too grumpy about it.
He has the best batch of novices and young horses since I've been riding there. Owners are putting a lot of investment into the yard in terms of the quality of horses they are buying. We'll have six or seven very nice horses to go novice hurdling next season and the novice hurdlers will be going chasing – it's a young and vibrant yard.
Centasia impressed me with the way she won her bumper at Ludlow and she's up there with our best bumper horses. It was an impressive performance to make up the ground on heavy going. She'll have an entry at Cheltenham, but she also has mares' only bumper options at Sandown and Aintree.
Red Sherlock, who is out of the good mare Lady Cricket, was mightily impressive at Towcester. Buddy Bolero won very well too at Leicester. He's a very likeable horse, and he'll go on to bigger and better things. He could be a Grand National horse one day, as he jumps very well.
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Goulanes was fantastic when he won at Wetherby on Saturday. To win a Grade Two novices chase at the first time of asking over fences was brilliant. He's tough and honest and is very likeable. I have a huge soft spot for him.
It was desperately sad for all the connections of Darlan after he was killed at Doncaster on Monday and my condolences go out to them. But I really feel for his groom and I think this is often overlooked. It's the groom who had to go to an empty box on Tuesday morning and who'll be missing him more than anyone and I think it's worth mentioning the very real grief they can feel too.
Today I ride two at Taunton, and Garryleigh is a nice bumper horse. Tomorrow, I think I'm at Newcastle and then on Saturday I'll be at Newbury to ride The Giant Bolster in the Betfair Denman Chase.
He's very, very well. I saw him on Tuesday and he's in great shape. Silviniaco Conti will be the one to beat but whatever The Giant Bolster does he'll improve, and he's a 10lb better horse at Cheltenham. I'm hoping for a big run from him, but it's not the end of the world if he is beaten.
Simonsig is following in Sprinter Sacre's footsteps in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase. He's done nothing but impress this season, but I'm still with Overturn. His performance at Musselburgh on Sunday blew me away. He's an extraordinary horse and I hope he wins the Arkle. Everyone loves Overturn.
Warwick has the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trials Novices' Chase on Saturday and it's a race Paul Nicholls fares well in, although I wasn't overly impressed with Fago at Newbury. David runs His Excellency and he's a good, solid and consistent performer. If the others run below form, he'll be able to take advantage of that.
I'll be at Exeter on Sunday, which has a super card, and I'm looking forward to seeing Melodic Rendezvous, Puffin Billy and Harry Topper run.
We have several horses entered, but it depends if they get balloted or not. The racing is pretty tough at the moment, with big competitive fields. The weather has played havoc with plans and everyone is trying to get a run into their horses before the Festival.
• Two tickets for £10 are available for Exeter's meeting this Sunday. The offer applies to pre-booked tickets only which must be booked by midnight on Saturday. Everyone who pre-books will be entered into a draw to win a night at Bovey Castle. Call 0844 5793005 to book. The racecourse's Wedding Fayre is on February 17. Entry is free, and the event, from 10am to 5pm, includes a designer dress sale with up to 70% off. The course's Cheltenham Festival Preview Night is on February 21. Tickets cost £20 and the panel includes Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs, David Pipe, Andrew King, Paul Binfield and Tanya Stevenson. Call 0844 5793005 to book.