Gold Cup winner Sam Thomas picks up 17-day ban

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  • Gold Cup-winning jockey Sam Thomas has been suspended for 17 days for taking the wrong course during a race.

    The ban will come into effect between the 1-20 June meaning Sam will miss several days racing.

    Sam was riding the 2-5 favourite Oumeyade, trained by Paul Nicholls in the Light Dragoons Handicap Chase at Fakenham on 18 May.

    He steered the horse, who is owned by Jim Lewis and runs in the same colours as Best Mate, across his rivals and onto the hurdles course, to the audible boos of the crowd.

    Sam picked up 14 days for taking the wrong course and a further three for careless riding as he cut across the field.

    In January Denis O’Regan picked up a suspension for riding a finish a circuit too early at the Norfolk-based course. But it was Denis’s first ride on the track, unlike Sam who cannot plead ignorance as he has ridden seven chase winners there.

    The 23-year-old who partnered Denman to success at Cheltenham in March cited a “lapse of concentration” as the reason for the error.

    Fakenham is now looking into whether measures can be taken to prevent similar incidents occurring — possibly by using tapes or cones to mark the correct course.

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