Kauto team have no fears of a Thomas fumble

It is hard to imagine quite what Sam Thomas would have to do at Haydock tomorrow to match Scott Carson's excruciating induction to sporting infamy at Wembley. But it would be understandable if the young jockey's slumbers since Wednesday have been disturbed by the sort of blunders that might render him accountable for a defeat that would, in his own walk of life, be no less momentous.

As second jockey to Paul Nicholls, Thomas found himself in line for the ride on Kauto Star, the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, after Ruby Walsh dislocated a shoulder at Cheltenham last Saturday.

This is one of those situations where talent on its own guarantees nothing. After all, Carson himself made a world-class save in the second half, but by then the damage was done. Certainly Thomas could be excused for perceiving an awful kinship between the innocuous shot that slithered through Carson's grasp for the first goal, and the image of his own breeches skidding across soggy turf in the Betfair Chase tomorrow. But the man whose silks he will be wearing remains confident that Thomas will fortify talent with temperament.

"Don't mention them in the same breath," Clive Smith said yesterday, aghast at the analogy. "Yes, it's Sam's big chance, as well. But it's a matter of confidence. Once he has seen a stride over a couple of early fences, he'll be fine. Sam has ridden the horse loads at home, and he gets on well with him."

Thomas renewed his acquaintance with Kauto Star yesterday morning and Nicholls was evidently delighted by what he saw. "He schooled this morning under Sam and jumped very well," Smith reported. "He showed a lot of his old verve. Paul was very pleased, he's very bullish, very positive. There will be no excuses so far as fitness is concerned this time."

Kauto Star was beaten for the first time in two years, in completed steeplechases, when trying to give Monet's Garden 14lb at Aintree last month. To be beaten just a length and a half was, on the face of it, an excellent effort. But he did show uncharacteristic signs of lethargy before knuckling down, and he did follow a long and winding road to the Gold Cup last season. Smith remembers Tom Taaffe, who had won the race two years previously, coming up afterwards and saying: "You've done very well to win that – he has had a very hard season."

Smith concedes that Kauto Star is unlikely to have six races in a season again, but overall he is sanguine, saying that the horse is so "much brighter and more together" than at Aintree that he intends to back him at even money. Kauto Star will face six opponents, headed by last season's outstanding novice, My Way De Solzen.

Smith expressed relief that Tony McCoy has broken his partnership with Exotic Dancer, who was tailed off at Aintree but had finished second in the Gold Cup. "He seems to add lengths to that horse," he observed.

McCoy is instead riding Wichita Lineman at Ascot before flying to Huntingdon to partner Racing Demon in the Totesport Peterborough Chase. Racing Demon is usually ridden by Graham Lee, but he has been claimed for Aces Four in the same race.

Even by his own standards, McCoy produced a performance of exceptional tenacity in the novice chase at Market Rasen yesterday. Having been headed after the third last, Pass It On looked so one-paced that Antonius Caesar was matched at 1-99 on Betfair on the run-in. But McCoy poured fresh coal into the firebox and wore down the leader in the final strides.

Only an hour later he was lucky to limp away from a nasty fall, first rolled upon and then all but kicked in the mouth. Nevertheless, he is today able to profit from the absence of other jockeys from Ascot, where he rides the talented hurdler Acambo in his first start over fences. Timmy Murphy, retained by the horse's owner, has begun a lengthy suspension, while Tom Scudamore, retained by his trainer, is sidelined by a shoulder injury.

McCoy's opponents on Wichita Lineman in the Coral Ascot Hurdle tomorrow are to include Hardy Eustace, Afsoun and Detroit City. Philip Hobbs yesterday described Detroit City as "very fresh and well" following an insipid end to his campaign last year, when found to be suffering from a variety of problems. The trainer intends to use this performance, over two miles and three furlongs, as a signpost to going up or back down in distance.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent