Cloud of Uncertainty Hangs Over Thomas
When Ruby Walsh was in hospital, the responsibility of riding some of the big names in the Paul Nicholls’ stable fell to Sam Thomas. Thomas has already proven himself to be a very capable jockey, and had to stand in for Walsh previously. So it was thought that the transition would be smooth sailing and that the jumps racing schedule for Paul Nicholls would carry on a usual. That has unfortunately not been the case, as doubt, speculation and concern have been growing around Sam Thomas, and this has been the talk of the horse racing industry for the last two weeks.
The shocking bad luck that has plagued Sam Thomas recently has left almost everyone in jumps racing speechless. After all, Thomas did win the Hennessy on Denman last year, and went for another victory on Denman in the Gold Cup. So it can be safely said that Thomas definitely has the ability and the skill as a jockey. Why he has been having such terrible races lately is the question on everyone’s minds. In the last thirty-four racing events Thomas has come unseated seven times, and now with the Tingle Creek Chase looming for Saturday, 6 December 2008, there is uncertainty if Thomas will be chosen to ride Master Minded.
On Saturday, 22 November 2008, during the running of the Betfair Chase, Kauto Star tumbled at the last fence unseating Thomas, with the same scene repeating itself in the Hennessy aboard Big Buck’s. On Monday, 1 December 2008, Thomas was once again hit with a wave of unsuccessful racing events. While riding Ballyveeney at the Folkestone meeting, Thomas said that his horse was suffering from fatigue and that contributed to the horse falling. But when in his second race for the day, he also came unseated when Zacharova fell at the second last hurdle, while strongly in the lead, many began to wonder if he had lost his confidence and is maybe not as in shape as he is supposed to be for these events.
Reports have come in that the owner of Kauto Star and Master Minded, Clive Smith, is concerned at the fact that almost every mount Thomas has ridden in the last while has fallen, and has arranged a meeting with Nicholls to discuss who will be piloting Master Minded this weekend. It is said that Tony McCoy is so far the most likely candidate. Asked about the unlucky streak he seems to be having, Thomas commented: "I'm going through a bit of a bad patch but I've just got to ride through it. It's like any sport - sometimes you're going to get a run of bad luck. I'm still going out there, giving it a hundred percent every time."