Monkfish and Envoi Allen will bring their unbeaten record over fences to the line at the Cheltenham Festival this week Former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, who rode 13 festival winners, said the British had to “pull up their socks” to fight the Irish
Eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore says Cheltenham Festival favorites Monkfish and Envoi Allen give horse racing the hope they need after a difficult year behind closed doors

Anglerfish by Willie Mullins and Envoi Allen – formerly by Gordon Elliott, now with Henry de Bromhead – have been well supported for chasing the Brown Advisory Novices and pursuing the Marsh Novices

The Ireland-trained couple already lead betting for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup and will hit the line with their unbeaten records over fences this week

Scudamore speaks as Freebets, The com ambassador told Sky Sports News, “Of all of them, I look forward to Monkfish I don’t know if he’s as good as Envoi Allen, but he just stimulates my imagination

“I hope both win and get through Punchestown or Aintree, and then we’ll prepare for next season

“We’re talking about Covid Well we need hope and these two great horses can give us hope”

Last year’s Cheltenham Festival was one of the last gatherings for fans before the race shut down as they returned behind closed doors

Scudamore admits the lack of the famous Cheltenham roar will be a “sad” occasion, but says the race was “privileged” to carry on during the coronavirus pandemic

“I’ve been to the rugby cricket matches in the FA Cup final between England and France, but the biggest sporting reception I’ve ever seen is Dawn Run [after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986] For me, that’s what makes Cheltenham special, “said Scudamore

“It will be sad I always say Cheltenham is a pagan festival It marks the end of winter There is so much good in humanity and it shows in the appreciation of the horse

“We have been fortunate enough to keep going. It’s a little surreal at some stages that we keep racing when people are struggling and our lives aren’t changing that much

This season, the Jumps Jockeys Championship is expected to get to the point Defending champion Brian Hughes is just a handful of winners ahead of Harry Skelton and Harry Cobden

Hughes has announced that he will be looking elsewhere for rides this week while Skelton [for Brother Dan] and Cobden [for Paul Nicholls] select horses for their farm in Cheltenham

Scudamore, who successfully defended the title six times between 1987 and 1992, believes Hughes’ decision to miss days at the festival could give him an advantage

“I thought the jockeys championship was the be-all and end-all,” Scudamore said. “You can win a Gold Cup or a Grand National, that’s great and you might be lucky enough to be in a stable that the Gold Cup winner is here, but you can’t necessarily plan it

“If you are lucky enough to be able to race for a good stable, you can work really hard to become a champion jockey

“Brian (Hughes) said, ‘Not only will I show up in Cheltenham, I want to be a champion jockey’I admire that very much and like to think that this will bring the championship back to what it was

“Against the power of (Paul) Nicholls and (Dan) Skelton it will be very difficult for Brian, but he took another week

“They [Harry Cobden and Harry Skelton] are likely to ride a winner or two, but Brian could well ride three or four elsewhere”

Even without the thousands of eyes in attendance this week, the pressure of driving will be felt at the biggest meet of the jump race in the weighing room

Scudamore drove 13 festival winners and says a good start to the week can make all the difference

“The special thing about Cheltenham is that, because of the pressure, everything seems to come together in one,” said Scudamore. “You’d be there early on a Tuesday, then suddenly you’d go out on Friday

“You walk out into an ocean of people with a certain expectation, whether it’s the crowd or the owners and trainers

“Your nerves are high. When the first race starts, your nerves go. It adds tension, but it has to be like cricket: when you make your first 20, relax

“If you get a good run in the first, you feel like you are in the rhythm of the game and off you go”

Willie Mullins is a man who knows a thing or two about saddling Cheltenham Festival winners, with a record of 72 to his name

The Closutton-based coach is once again leading the Irish indictment in the battle for the Prestbury Cup, which Ireland beat Great Britain 17-10 in last year’s meeting

“In my day, I (Michael) Dickinson, (Fred) Winter, have seen all of these wonderful coaches, but Willie took it to another level,” Scudamore said. “It’s extraordinary

“I thought I would never see better than Michael Dickinson and Martin Pipe, but he raised the bar again”

Scudamore added, “They [the Irish] have favorites or second favorites in every championship race. They have invested in the best horses and it pays off

“At the moment the Irish are dominating and the British have to pull their socks up”

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World news – GB – Cheltenham Festival: Peter Scudamore on Monkfish, Envoi Allen, Jockeys Championship title race and Prestbury Cup fight