Fairytale with a Cherry and White hue will enchant all
GLOUCESTER rugby stars Mike Tindall and James Simpson-Daniel could play a massive part in potentially one of the success stories of the jumps season and a marketing company's dream.
Racing's PR machine should be cranking into overdrive as the sport's top brass continually look for ways to widen its appeal.
The story of how three top rugby players – one married to a member of the royal family – bought a horse for £12,000, teamed up with the son of a former champion jockey and tasted victory at Cheltenham is extraordinary.
And it could get even better yet with the racehorse in question, Monbeg Dude, now a leading contender for the Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27.
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Simpson-Daniel, Tindall and their former Gloucester team-mate Nicky Robinson – now at Wasps – dreamt of seeing Monbeg Dude charge to victory up the famous Cheltenham run-in after sending him to trainer Michael Scudamore.
Tindall said their mud-loving gelding will be in his element if it continues to rain in the weeks to come.
"He loves the soft to heavy ground," he said.
"One thing he can do is stay, and it makes it difficult because you've got to pick his races wisely.
"We ran him at Newbury last year and the ground was firm and he hated it.
"So on his day and when the conditions are right he can be a good horse.
"We've discussed about the Welsh National and things like that, and that might now be an option.
"Obviously his handicap will go up a bit and we'll have to find out what his rating ends up at, but we'll just see where it goes.
"Dibble's (Simpson-Daniel) more hands on than Nicky and me, he goes quite far back with Michael and he's been at the yard quite a bit.
"But I never speak to Michael unless he's winning – so he got a message from me on Saturday saying well done! It's a superstition that I've got."
Cheltenham-born Scudamore is relishing the chance to train Monbeg Dude for Simpson-Daniel, Tindall and Robinson.
He has sent the gelding out to win two of his ten races for the trio and to be placed on three other occasions.
Scudamore said: "They're really good and they're so enthusiastic about the sport.
"James and Mike are pretty knowledgeable about racing and Nicky is learning as he goes along and getting more used to it – you can't knock his enthusiasm.
"They bought the horse for £12,000 and at the time they said how great it would be to see him running up that famous hill at Cheltenham.
"For it actually to happen is wonderful."
Scudamore's dad Peter won the Welsh National four times, twice on Bonanza Boy (1988 and 1989) and aboard Run And Skip in 1985 and Carvill's Hill in 1991.
He confirmed the race was now on the radar for Monbeg Dude following his potentially career-changing victory under Jamie Moore at Prestbury Park.
The 25-1 chance challenged for the lead in the home straight and got the better of a prolonged tussle with Fergal O'Brien's Bradley by a neck.
Scudamore said: "I had a chance to sit down to watch a recording of the race a day or two afterwards and then it started to sink in a little bit.
"It was a very brave performance from the horse, he'd only run four times over fences before that and it was a big step up.
"To have a winner on Channel 4 at Cheltenham is probably worth 20 winners anywhere else and hopefully it will raise the profile of the yard and show people what we can do."