Jockey’s amazing record unlikely to be surpassed

SCONE Race Club and Racing NSW will both be honouring Robert Thompson on Emirates Park Scone Cup day next week to recognise him riding his 4000th winner.

Robert Thompson rides Collar (NZ) home in the Mornington Handicap on Tamworth Cup day late last month. He has since ridden his 4000th winner. 270414BSG10

Robert Thompson rides Collar (NZ) home in the Mornington Handicap on Tamworth Cup day late last month. He has since ridden his 4000th winner. 270414BSG10

The chairman of Scone club, Noel Leckie, will present Australia’s most successful jockey with a crystal trophy while the chairman of Racing NSW, John Messara, will present him with an inscribed silver tray.

On Monday, Quirindi Jockey Club started the ball rolling by presenting the 55-year-old jockey with a show of their appreciation when he rode at their Willow Tree Cup meeting.

Both Scone presentations will be held in the parade yard during the meeting. 

Thompson, who refused offers many times to join big city stables so he could remain in his beloved home town of Cessnock, has been a regular rider at Scone throughout his career.

He landed his 4000th winner aboard Lay Down The Law at Newcastle last Saturday.

Thompson’s record is a feat that will likely never be surpassed with the 55-year-old not entertaining any thoughts of retirement.

In that case, the tally of winners is only going to grow.

“I am fit and well and enjoying riding so I will keep going,” Thompson said. “Maybe one day I will wake up and decide I have had enough.” 

In 2008 Thompson passed the 3372 winners that the late Jack Thompson rode.

His one regret is that his father, the late Arthur Thompson, did not live long enough to see him achieve the goal after losing his battle with cancer in May last year.

Thompson was apprenticed to his late grandfather Norm Collins as a 14-year-old in 1973 and Arthur was his foreman.

Later Arthur became a highly successful trainer and Robert the number one stable jockey.

Since the day he started his apprenticeship Thompson has kept a record of his wins in exercise books and it is a practice he continues today.

And as his success continues the pile of exercise books continues to get higher. 

Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys said passing this milestone was a credit to Thompson’s hard-working ethics.

“Robert is one of the most humble people you could meet and without doubt everybody in the racing industry looks up to him,” V’landys said. “He has been riding for 40 years which equates to averaging 100 winners a season – that is an incredible feat.”

Thompson’s accomplishment is all the more remarkable as he was sidelined for nearly two years after fracturing an ankle in a race fall at Warwick Farm in 2004. Thompson rode a treble at Muswellbrook last Friday to sit on 3999 wins before scoring aboard Lay Down the Law at Newcastle last Saturday.

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