£40,000 Ascot race proves Tom Garner's biggest ever win
HOT conditional jockey Tom Garner is in danger of becoming too successful.
On Saturday at Ascot, Garner took his current sequence to four wins in his last five rides.
And he did so in style, landing by far his biggest victory in the televised £40,000 Betfair-sponsored hurdle on the Nick Gifford-trained Kuilsriver.
Garner, 22, needs just three more victories before he loses his 7lb allowance – the ability to ride with 7lb less than the horse’s allotted weight to compensate for inexperience.
Garner’s boss Oliver Sherwood has already told the junior jockey that he must limit the number of rides he takes in the next few weeks so the 7lb claim remains in place when he partners Rouge Et Blanc for the stable in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival next month.
Rouge Et Blanc heads to Cheltenham in tip-top form after winning at both Huntingdon and Exeter already this month, with Garner in the saddle on each occasion.
He can also look forward to the Cheltenham ride on Saturday’s winner Kuilsriver after an involuntary change of tactics prompted the gelding’s 33-1 triumph at Ascot.
Kuilsriver could run in either the Coral Cup on the Wednesday of the Festival or the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle, the penultimate race on the Friday.
“I was meant to sit handy and come with a late challenge,” said Garner, a former pupil at Farmor’s School in Fairford when he lived in Down Ampney.
“No one wanted to make the running and basically the horse took me up to the lead at the fourth flight. He seemed to be enjoying himself so I did not want to disappoint him.”
Even after making much of the running, Kuilsriver was strong enough to hold off the challenge of another outsider, Sadler’s Risk, by half a length on the run-in.
Garner now hopes he can kickstart a career which has thusfar been plagued by injury.
Even after joining Sherwood in August on the recommendation of his former boss Warren Greatrex, Tom had only been in the post for two weeks when breaking his collar bone for the fifth time.
“I have to admit I was getting down recently when I was losing rides during the snow, but I have come through that now,” he said.
“I have two good rides to look forward to at Cheltenham and I am also excited by Tamarina Bay, who won by 28 lengths on her debut at Bangor the other day. She now goes for a Listed mares bumper race at Sandown.”
Garner is looking for a sponsor and anyone who may be interested can get in touch with him through his Twitter feed @TomGarner90.