19 March 2023

Tzarmix and Shomen Uchi make it a good day for Sam Thomas

19 March 2023

Sam Thomas has plenty to look forward to having enjoyed a fruitful time at Chepstow on Sunday, saddling a double at his local course.

Based at The Hollies on the outskirts of Cardiff, the Gold Cup-winning jockey has sent more of his string to Chepstow than any other track since joining the training ranks – a move that paid dividend when Tzarmix took the opening Cazoo Novices’ Hurdle.

Sent off at 16-5 against Tolworth Hurdle second L’Astroboy, Tzarmix was smuggled into the race by Harry Cobden before taking dead aim and running down his rival when Evan Williams’ odds-on favourite – who had traded at the minimum 1.01 on Betfair – tired after the last.

“We are thrilled with him, he’s a work in progress,” said Thomas.

“I don’t want to get too carried away, the second horse was out in front a long time and in those conditions it probably didn’t suit him. It’s nice to go and beat a well-touted horse, but I just hope the handicapper doesn’t take it literally. It’s a lonely old place up in front at Chepstow and it’s nice we had something to aim at rather than the other way round really.

“Harry has ridden him to run well basically and I think if he had ridden him to win he wouldn’t have won so it’s funny how it worked out.”

The winner will be left to swim in calm waters for the time being – given plenty of time to continue his racing education.

He's clearly got an engine and is very much a work in progress

“He’s got so much still to learn,” Thomas continued. “He doesn’t jump the most fluently and show his hurdles respect at the minute so he has got a lot of practice to do at home. He has always been the same, he doesn’t have much regard for a hurdle.

“Hopefully as he picks up more runs he will learn on the job alongside his practice at home. But he’s clearly got an engine and is very much a work in progress.”

Another of the Thomas string held in high regard is Shomen Uchi, who sailed to to an easy 11-length victory in Cazoo Maiden Hurdle – Charlie Deutsch simply having to point the 11-10 favourite in the right direction.

After running with credit at Aintree in the Grade Two bumper last term, Shomen Uchi could return to the Merseyside track during the Grand National Festival next month.

“It’s only a maiden at the back-end of march so I don’t want to get too carried away, but he’s a horse I’m very fond of,” said Thomas.

“For whatever reason we haven’t been able to get him out as much as I would have wanted this season, but he’s very talented and loves soft ground. He will be a lovely staying chaser in time.

“I’ve always thought a lot of him and it just goes to show, if you are not over-racing them, what they can achieve – the more time we give this horse the better he will be.

“We’ll see if the handicapper gives us a mark now and if it is a rating that would warrant us going to one of the handicaps we will consider Aintree, but it is not the be-all and end-all if we don’t go there.”

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