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The Welsh Marches are the birthplace of champions

Legendary racecourses host the biggest events in the sport. They attract the top names from racing, whether they are horses, trainers, owners, or sponsors. These courses spring to mind as soon as you imagine a horse galloping to the finish line while tens of thousands of spectators cheer it home.

Ludlow may not be the first host you picture because the likes of Cheltenham, Epsom and Aintree are the acknowledged pinnacles of horse racing. However, to assume that the impact Ludlow has on the industry isn’t as substantial is wrong. Shropshire is and always will be an integral member of the racing fraternity due to these factors.

Shropshire, Herefordshire and several neighbouring counties have been involved in some of the most iconic moments in horse racing. As a result, the region has a historical impact that will never be forgotten. The name Peter Scudamore, for example, is recognised by most people who love the sport. Scudamore is now a trainer with his partner Lucinda Russell, but he is a decorated former jockey, too, winning the Champion Jockey title a remarkable eight times during his career.

This one man has influenced the sport greatly over several generations, although of course, his own father was a well respected rider and trainer in his own right, as the film above will corroborate. Of course, Peter’s two sons, Michael Scudamore and Tom Scudamore, train and ride horses respectively, highlighting the influence of the family name almost 30 years later. Peter Scudamore has also affected horse racing through popular culture. In 2019, his image rights were acquired by NetEnt and used as a theme for an online slot machine called Scudamore’s Super Stakes. NetEnt is a major developer that features on libraries from some of the biggest operators in the industry, such as Space Casino, which has relationships with market-leading brands to ensure its brand retains its market position. The fact that NetEnt used Scudamore’s likeness shows how relevant he is. Being a Herefordshire native, it reflects well on Ludlow and the surrounding areas, too.

To put it into perspective, Frankie Dettori: Sporting Legends is another online slot machine that is in demand. Not only is the Italian possibly the greatest jockey ever, but the game is developed by Playtech. Considering that there are only two main slots based on horse racing, the fact that Peter Scudamore is one of them is monumental.

Former & Future Classic winners

The Scudamore surname has played and continues to play an important role in maintaining the prestige of Ludlow Racecourse. However, this time, it isn’t Peter Scudamore who is the main protagonist. Sure, Peter’s record-breaking career is great PR for the sport in the region overall, yet it’s the iconic moments that can be just as powerful.

His father’s winning ride on Oxo during the 1959 Grand National is a contest that won’t be forgotten anytime soon thanks to the epic battle between the eventual winner and the runner-up, Wyndburgh. The trainer, Willie Stephenson, had stables in Hereford, so his contribution can’t be ignored. Of course, it’s hard to predict when a horse will go on to be great, but Royale Pagaille looks set to have an excellent opportunity in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Royale Pagaille finished sixth in the 2021 edition with an injured foot that caused him to jump poorly. Plus, the ground was too quick for this mud-lover. If the conditions are right and the horse is fighting fit, the Herefordshire duo of Venetia Williams and Tom Scudamore may write their names in the history books by claiming that superstar event.

Leading rider Tom Scudamore enjoyed a vintage season last winter, picking up some choice rides that included Royal Pagaille in the Peter Marsh and Cloth Cap at Newbury. His trainer brother is currently enjoying a purple patch of autumn form from his base in Bromsash. The Scudamore name isn’t going anywhere far from the sport anytime soon.

Whatever happens, the fact that the likes of Williams and the Scudamores continue to compete for the area means they are building on the foundations set by Michael and Peter Scudamore, two legends of the sport.

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