BIG-race hero Sam Thomas has finally revealed that he went through hell when his riding career ended.
Thomas had brought home more than 500 winners, and proudly scooped major races on equine icons like Kauto Star and Denman.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup, Hennessy Gold Cup, and Tingle Creek Chase featured high among his finest triumphs.
But once the daily riding routine stopped, he plunged into deep despair, and it is only now, four years later, that he feels comfortable enough to talk about it.
He admits: “I was at rock bottom. I dropped into a dark hole. I couldn’t deal with it.
“Saying ‘goodbye’ to people I’d virtually lived with for more than ten years was hard to take. Yes, it as a shock.
“I couldn’t bear to look back after leaving the weighing-room for the last time.
OFFER OF THE DAY
Betfair: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
18+ T&Cs apply Begambleaware.org
T&Cs: Min £5 bet on the SBK, min odds 1.5 (1/2). Rewards valid for 7 days. Free bets must be placed at min odds of 1.5 (1/2). Exchange free bet limited to certain markets. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply 18+ Begambleaware.org
“I became mentally shattered, and I shall always be grateful to my family for helping me through those terrible days.
“My dad was immense. He’s been the biggest influence on my life. He’s pushed me harder than anyone else.
“He’s very competitive, and he’s made me the same.”
Thomas has steadily raised himself from the horrendous dark hole, and now successfully trains for his landlord, Dai Walters, who built Ffos Las racecourse, and is quoted worth £264 million in the latest Times rich list.
They share the same extraordinary passion for racehorses at the modern Walters’ stable in Lisvane near Cardiff.
Most read in Horse Racing
Hollie Doyle finishes third at BBC SPOTY to do entire racing community proud
With a 65-1 double and 20-1 winner breaking the bank we reveal Monday's bets
This Lingfield runner can start the week with a bang plus other best bets
MAKE A MARQ
Who is Hollie Doyle's boyfriend Tom Marquand? Fellow jockey and 'jammy bugger'
How Hollie Doyle went from riding cows to becoming 'Britain's best jockey'
Hollie Doyle is 5ft tall and 8st but deadlifts over double her bodyweight
He adds: “I chat to Mr. Walters every morning. He likes to know the very latest about his horses, and to discuss plans for them.
“He has an opinion, and we don’t always agree. But that’s great for me, as we work things out together, and I learn a lot from his judgment and experience.
“We are both very competitive, and we get on well.
“To compete with the big boys, we need good horses and good facilities, and we have both.
“And we are continually buying yearlings, and two, and three year olds. Our yard is currently full with 30 smashing horses.
“I am not trying to sell myself. I’m still learning. I have a little way to go, yet. But I’m feeling great now, and that means more to me than anything.”
CLAIM OVER £2,000 IN FREE BETS
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or visit Mind’s website.
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org