The clock is ticking on Saturday afternoon. .. .. The butterflies in James Tomkins’ stomach are getting worse.
NS Crystal Palace Centre-backs have been in this situation many times, and in 15 years they have traveled to packed Anfield, Old Trafford, Emirates and more.
Only today is different. The nerve of big match is one thing, but is it the nerve of big race? That’s another thing.
It’s a bold statement given that he was the best player in Wembley before 80,000 and helped West Ham win the championship playoff final.
But when Tomkins was facing the best strikers on the land, or scoring against Liverpool and Arsenal, he could have a big say in the results. Not this time.
There is no final tackle to save the goal, and no far post header to score one point. You can see the apple in his eyes with just the crossed-fingered sheet in front of Terry.
Starman when West Ham defeated Blackpool at the National Stadium to win the promotion in 2012, Tomkins is a co-owner of Rohan, who is enthusiastic about the Group 1 Kipco Champions Sprint.
A training session with Palace on Saturday morning — he joined them in 2016 after spending 20 years at Hammers — means he can’t be in Ascot due to a big event. ..
But Tomkins admits that if past experience is any sign, it may not be a bad thing.
He laughed. “Thinking about it, yeah, it’s probably best that I’m not there.
“Watching Rohan run is completely different from the nerves you get as a player, because even if you belong to a team, you can have a certain amount of voice.
“When you’re with him, you can’t do anything and you’re definitely more nervous than the match. It’s going to be 30 minutes before the race. It’s crazy.”
Tomkins fell in love with a horse when his grandfather took him to New Market. It’s a passion shared by his wife and little son.
So when Chris Skiley, the son of Dean, the palace goalkeeper coach, asked if he was interested in joining as an owner, he didn’t have to think twice.
I thought he didn’t have a chance
Tomkins said: “In April, when Ryan Moore was riding him and pushing him very early, I saw the Commonwealth Cup trial. I thought,’I have no chance.’ “
“But he took off and won, it was incredible. Then when I asked Chris if he saw it, he said he might be involved with me. I now have 25 percent.
“He defeated the stepped-up dragon symbol on my first run. I know what it did. Rohan is very progressive and is now in Group 1.”
Haydock’s first win at Sandy Lane Stakes may have been a 33-1 shock, but it’s not a fluke.
Four weeks later, Rohan turned three for the first time in 34 years and won Wokingham at the Royal Meeting.
As it is today, Tomkins couldn’t be there, and once again he was surprised.
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He added: “I was actually on vacation with Mallorca’s family, so I managed to find it on TV. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t expect him to win. ..
“It was crazy and incredible. People spent their lives at Royal Ascot without a winner. It was the second time he ran for us!”
From that day on, the handicap was off the agenda. Since then, Rohan’s three Group 1 attempts have been futile, but there have been excuses.
In the July Cup, he was drawn to the wrong side. The slow start-especially at the disadvantage of the previous The Curragh’s Flying Five-has been undone.
Still, he is confident that Rohan will still increase in height as Ryan Moore returns to Ascot after finishing five lengths ahead of Nunthorpe’s winner Winter Power.
Tomkins said: He was running in one of the best races and fell off the stall last time and was still in fifth place.
“Of course, I know my dream is to beat Group 1 and I need a little luck, but he definitely has a chance.
Dream to win the group 1
“We made an offer to him, but want to keep him and see where he takes us. Like football, you just really think about the next race. — And for us it’s the Champions Sprint. “
So what if you were to score a goal against Manchester United or Liverpool, or become the owner who won Group 1? Tomkins didn’t need more than a millisecond to think.
“I scored at the Unfield for Palace, but it’s not exactly the same because I won, but this is a dream.
“Winning at Wembley was magical. Climbing the hard way was actually the best way for the day, and that was probably the highlight of my career.
“But when you think about it, Rohan actually wins over the football medal. He was great.”
The 10th anniversary of QIPCO British Champions Day in Ascot will be broadcast live on ITV 1 from 1:00 pm. For more information britishchampionsseries.com
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