Tag Archive for: Iwilldoit

Welsh National hero Iwilldoit unlikely to run again this term

Welsh Grand National winner Iwilldoit, who provided Sam Thomas with the biggest win of his burgeoning training career, is unlikely to run again this season.

The nine-year-old gained his third victory in four chase starts when beating Highland Hunter in the extended three-and-three-quarter-mile Grade Three marathon at Chepstow over Christmas.

Owned by Diamond Racing, Iwilldoit relished the testing conditions in a race where just five of the 20 starters finished.

However, the nine-length success under Stan Sheppard came at a price, as his exertions took their toll.

Thomas said: “He is OK, but it is probably looking like he won’t run again this season.

“He was very sore after the race – there was nothing seriously wrong, it was just as far as we were concerned it was mission accomplished.

“That was his main target and it could well be that we bring him back and target him for the Welsh National next season, because those are his conditions.

“We will get him back in early and potentially have a prep run over hurdles and, while we still have to have a chat with the owners, it looks likely we won’t be seeing him on the track again this season.

“He is absolutely fine, but we feel that by the time we get him back, his ground will be done.”

Thomas, who hit the heights as a jockey with his fruitful association with Denman, has been in great form of late and secured a big Saturday double at Ascot last weekend, with Good Risk At All and Skytasic.

Of the latter, he said: “He has taken it well. He is absolutely fine. He is the sort of horse that needed a run for experience as much as anything else. We have decided that we will be steering towards Aintree rather than Cheltenham now.”

Thomas expresses Grand National doubts about Iwilldoit

Sam Thomas feels that there is only a “small chance” that Coral Welsh Grand National winner Iwilldoit will line up in the Grand National at Aintree in April.

The just-turned eight-year-old gave the former jump jockey the biggest win of his training career thus far when taking the Chepstow marathon eight days ago.

The nine-length victory in the extended three-and-three-quarter-mile event was the third win in four starts over fences for the Diamond Racing Ltd-owned gelding.

The Lisvane-based Thomas feels Iwilldoit is still too inexperienced to tackle the Aintree showpiece and any plans to celebrate his Welsh National success have been put on hold.

Thomas said: “It has been a bit of a whirlwind. We haven’t had a big celebration yet, but we will have to plan a get-together with everyone involved, but in this industry nothing ever stops. We haven’t had the time to celebrate just yet.

“Iwilldoit is up 9lb to a mark of 149 now. He is absolutely fine and has come out of the race fine, and we haven’t made any plans whatsoever really.

“We will have a chat with the owners and make a bit of a gameplan, really.”

Thomas knows exactly what it takes to win on the biggest stage, with Cheltenham Gold Cup success aboard Denman among several top-class victories in the saddle.

And the proud Welshman feels that the Grand National might come too soon at this stage in Iwilldoit’s career.

“There is a small possibility he might go for the Grand National, but I would imagine that might be next season if anything,” said Thomas.

“He is still fairly inexperienced and no disrespect to Chepstow fences – they are nice fences – but our horse just has a jumping style where he just flicks through his fences and I’m not sure he will be quite ready for the test of the bigger fences at Aintree just yet.

“We have got lots of options, though. That’s the main thing.”

Iwilldoit is currently a 20-1 chance with Paddy Power for the Grand National.

Thomas added he is is hopeful Stolen Silver can give him another big Saturday winner at Wincanton this weekend.

Fourth to Edwardstone in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown last time, Thomas is set to drop the seven-year-old back into handicap company in the Kingwell Lodge Handicap Chase over two and a half miles.

“We have Stolen Silver in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap at Wincanton, he is likely to run and fingers crossed he will get back to winning ways,” said Thomas.

Iwilldoit gives Sam Thomas landmark success in Welsh National

Former jockey Sam Thomas gained the biggest win of his burgeoning training career when Iwilldoit landed a gamble under Stan Sheppard in the Coral Welsh Grand National in a gruelling, stamina-sapping test at Chepstow.

Backed into 13-2 from 12-1 on the morning of the race, the eight-year-old went to the front eight fences from home and ground down the opposition in the extended three-and-three-quarter-mile Grade Three marathon in which only five of the 20 starters finished.

Owned by Diamond Racing, Iwilldoit opened his campaign with victory in the trial here over an extended two miles and seven furlongs earlier this month.

Winning trainer Sam Thomas (left) and jockey Stan Sheppard
Winning trainer Sam Thomas (left) and jockey Stan Sheppard (David Davies/PA)

The race itself – being run behind closed doors for the second successive year due to covid restrictions – suffered two false starts with Harry Cobden keen to get a good position on Highland Hunter and they finally got away from a standing start at the third attempt.

Iwilldoit was keen early, but had plenty of cover and was allowed his head a long way from home, taking over from the pace-setting Ramses De Teillee.

His jumping proved foot-perfect throughout and only two horses really mattered three from home, with Iwilldoit jumping with aplomb and outstaying Highland Hunter and Cobden to record a nine-length success.

Thomas said: “I can’t put it into words. I can’t believe how emotional I am.

“I didn’t dare think for a minute that we were going to win. I know we had a chance, but it is incredible.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, if I’m honest.

“It is tremendous to keep it in Wales. I am a proud Welshman and it hasn’t really sunk in. It is what dreams are made of, really.

“It is very bizarre being stood here in an empty stand with no crowd. It just doesn’t feel right, really.

“I have enjoyed every minute of that race, but my family should be here, the rest of the owners should be here, and it is a very sad day for racing, really. It just doesn’t feel right – 40 minutes away in Bristol there is a full stadium of people watching rugby. It is crazy.”

He added: “Big targets keep your eye on the ball and it is what gets you out of bed every day.

“I have a fantastic team at home and this is a team effort.

Iwilldoit on his way to winning the Welsh National
Iwilldoit on his way to winning the Welsh National (David Davies/PA)

“When he hit the front down the back and got into his rhythm, I thought all he had to do was stay on his feet really and he’d keep running is race.

“Stan gave him a lovely ride – it is a lot of pressure for a young jockey, but I’m delighted for him.

“He loved those conditions and bottom weight in those sort of races obviously helps in soft ground. Hopefully, I will be able to enjoy it a little more later.”